New Year’s Day is a fun exciting day in most countries and cities around the world. In Cape Town we like to make the festivities last a little longer. Why stop being jolly on the first of January when you can extend it to the second day of the year as well. Please take my word for it, if you want to experience a truly Capetonian day, you must attend the Cape Minstrel’s Parade in the city.
The day is referred to as Second New Year, where a parade that is second to none takes place through the Mother City’s streets. According to Cape Town Magazine, “this yearly parade dates back to the mid-nineteenth century when the slaves in Cape Town were given one day off in the year (2 January). To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos and making merry with music, dance and a parade from the District Six area through to the city centre. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s. Aside from honouring these classic tunes, repertoires are also laden with interpretations of modern pop songs to keep all ages entertained.”
Thousands upon thousands of people go to a lot of effort making their colourful costumes and practising their music for the special day, showing off their talents to locals and tourists alike. The start of a new year signifies the rite of renewal and rebirth to the people of Cape Town, especially the Cape Malay folks. The parade is one of Cape Town’s longest standing traditions and certainly carries a sense of great pride amongst all true Capetonians.
Even though the origins of the day stemmed from the days of slavery, you will get so swept up in the incredibly friendly and jovial atmosphere on the day that any negative connotation to the day will be long forgotten. The parade starts at the historical District Six area towards Adderley Street and snakes its way into the heart of the city.
Truly one of my favourite days of the (new) year, I urge you to take to the streets and join the celebration. If you take photos please share them with us on our Facebook Page. We would love to see what your experience was!
Photo courtesy of sahistory.org.za