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Why Is the Rose Parade on January 2 Some Years?

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Photo of a Rose Parade past by Sundogg/ © Jonathan Alcorn via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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This year, the Tournament of Roses' 123rd Rose Parade is taking place on Monday, January 2, 2012. Yep, the 2nd, not the 1st. So why is that?

In 1893, the Tournament of Roses instituted a "Never on Sunday" protocol, and it's sort of to do with religion, but perhaps not in the way you might first think. It's all very practical and logistical: The policy was put in place "to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services." And, to ensure there's no competition with the National Football League, the Rose Bowl game is also held over to January 2.

A little more info, via The Burbank Leader:

“It’s a combination of respect as well as tradition,” said Libby Wright, chairwoman of the Rose Bowl management committee. “I don’t know that anyone has ever talked about changing it.” The rule, she said, shows no bias toward any religion or group and was kept to respect residents who live around the parade route.

“We do what is best for the city,” she said.

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So hold your horses until next Monday for the 2012 Rose Parade and game. The Parade is gong to have 43 floats, 21 bands and 18 equestrian units (with approximately 400 horses), as presided over by Rose Queen Drew Helen Washington and Grand Marshal J.R. Martinez.