Brooklyn: the borough with its own holiday

If you notice lots of school-age kids roaming the streets on Thursday, chalk it up to the day off all city students get on the first Thursday in June.

Why the holiday? It’s a relic that originated way back in the 1820s as Anniversary Day (or Rally Day), which commemorated┬áthe formation of the Brooklyn Sunday School Union. Hey, Brooklyn didn’t earn its nickname, City of Churches, for being secular.

Brooklyndayparade

Campfire girls in middy blouses march down Bedford Avenue in honor of Brooklyn Day, around 1920.

For decades, the holiday was celebrated in Brooklyn, officially becoming Brooklyn Day in 1905. Tens of thousands of Brooklynites paraded all over the borough every year, carrying banners and listening to politicians expound on the importance of God, religion, and freedom.

By 1959, the holiday was broadened to Brooklyn-Queens Day; Queens Sunday Schools had been having parades of their own all along. In 2006 it became a day off for students in all five boroughs.

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9 Responses to “Brooklyn: the borough with its own holiday”

  1. George Schaefer Says:

    The first parade was in 1829 celebrating the founding of the Brooklyn Sunday School Union on April 8, 1816. In 1966 it was recognized by the U.S. Congress as being the oldest organization of its kind in America. This will be my 56th parade and I look forward to being with the Ridgewood-Glendale Sunday School Association as it celebrates its 100th parade. (Queens started a bit later than Brooklyn.) They’re marching on Catalpa Avenue at Fresh Pond Road at 10:30 AM. For those diehard Brooklynites, I understand that the major parade starts at Broadway and DeKalb Avenue at 11:00 AM. Regardless of our beliefs, we should come out to support these children who are the spiritual hope of this city.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the parade tip! Here’s a little more info on the Queens parade and history: http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2009/0430/Features/042.html

  3. Chicken Underwer Says:

    I always loved it. Felt like it was my own special holiday. The best thing is that once every 7 years or so, it is my birthday too. Not today, but a great day to celebrate with my 3rd grade twins.

    We will spend the day enjoying Brooklyn!

  4. Daniel Buckley Says:

    Your post is great! I posted an entry on Brooklyn-Queens Day to the Food Bank For New york City’s blog yesterday too. Got a good quote or two from Food Bank staff who grew up in Brooklyn and Queens.

    http://snipr.com/jisba

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Thank you! I hope everyone had a nice holiday yesterday….

  6. JONATHAN HUBBARD Says:

    IF ANYONE READS THIS YOU MAY REMEMBER THAT MY DAD ROBERT MORRIS HUBBARD WAS INSTRUMENTAL THROUGHTOUT HIS LIFE TIME TO INSURE THE BSSU AND THE PARADE CONTINUED. I WOULD LIKE TO REQUEST THAT IF THERE ARE ANY PICTURES ON FILE EITHER ACTUAL PICTURE OR DISC THAT I MAY HAVE OFMYSELF OR MY DAD I WOULD GREATLY APPREACIATE COPIES

  7. Dorothy Swygert Says:

    When will the luncheon for the Brooklyn Sunday School be held this year?
    What is the date for the annual parade?

  8. George Schaefer Says:

    Jonathan Hubbard: I have some nice photos of your dad at one of the luncheons.

  9. Claudio Rodrigues Says:

    Good moments, today’s memories of good days.

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