Parade Theme

2019 THEME

Mythology of Illusion

The word mythology derives from the Greek words mythos and logy, mythos meaning “a true narrative or a story of the people” and logy meaning “to tell”: thus, mythology means to tell the true story of a people. Illusion comes from Latin and Old French, and means “to play with.” So now we are playing with the stories of the people.

There was a time when people were open to the appearance of spirits or supernaturals among the general population. Homer wrote the Iliad during such a time. In fact, although today we think of myths as folktales or half-truths, they didn’t start out as such.

Myths began as stories about divine beings that were revered as true and sacred, endorsed by rulers and priests, and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken and the subjects of the story are no longer regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants, or fairies, the story is no longer a myth but a folktale.

Today, while our interpretation of mythology has changed, it has also expanded. A city or a region establishes its own mythology. For example, the burning of the Cuyahoga River is part of Cleveland’s mythology. Parade the Circle and the artists of parade also have both shared and individual mythologies.  

For the 30th year of the parade, we invite you to take inspiration from the CMA exhibition Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art or think forward to this summer’s exhibition Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders. You may also choose to celebrate the anniversary of the river burning or look to your own mythology to create your personal illusion.

Note: The parade theme helps to unify parade entries, especially the major ensembles. Groups are not required to follow it but may find it a helpful guide in designing their own entries.

See parade history for past themes.

Additional Support

The Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Foundation logo