When I think of a parade as a puzzle, it gives me an imaginative way to think about it and its many pieces. The parade, in its entirety represents a communal effort of people gathering and creating something for themselves and public consumption. It’s a banana split extravaganza that our eyes eat up. It's a Korean patbingsu/bingsu with shaved ice, red bean paste, fruit, and ridiculous number of tasty other ingredients. It’s a Filipino halo-halo with shaved ice, purple yam, palm fruit preserves and layers and layers of yummy things. I could go on, but you get it, a parade is an edible cultural delight for the eyes and ears.
Since it’s summer where I live, I’ll focus on a summer parade, a Japanese mikoshi parade. There are Japanese communities in and outside of Japan that celebrate with a mikoshi. A few terms to understand before I begin: natsu matsuri and mikoshi. Generally speaking,“matsuri” refers to a festival,”natsu” refers to summer, and “mikoshi” refers to a portable shrine paraded around. I acknowledge these are very simplistic definitions; however, it is a starting point.