Difference between Procession, Parade and Rally

Key Difference: A procession refers to a number of people getting together and walking or moving ahead in an ordered manner. A parade is like a moving party, it is a celebration of a special day or event. A rally is usually held to make a political protest or to show support for a cause. It is commonly for or against something thing or someone.

ProcessionProcession, Parade and Rally are three different types of events, which are often confused together. While at first glance they may look similar, they are in fact very different from each other, and can be easily told apart.

All three, procession, parade and rally require people to gather in large group for a specific function. In this manner, all three are similar, however, they differ in their purpose and for which they require the people to get together. 

ParadeA procession refers to a number of people getting together and walking or moving ahead in an ordered manner. The term is often used in the context of religion, such as a church procession, or a funeral procession.  The term may be used outside of a religious context, however, this kind of usage is uncommon. The mood in a procession is usually somber, serious, and grave.

A parade, on the other hand, is something completely different. A parade is like a moving party, it is a celebration of a special day or event, not that most people need a reason to party. Think of the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade, which include music, costumes, dancing, etc.

RallyA rally is different from both of these things. A rally is usually held to make a political protest or to show support for a cause. It is commonly for or against something thing or someone. Think of the Woman’s March where rallies were held around the world. A rally usually has political undertones, and may even have religious undertones, as a person’s religion often plays a part in their political beliefs. Rallies are also often called demonstrations and non-violent protests.

Comparison between Procession, Parade and Rally:

 

Procession

Parade

Rally

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

A number of people or vehicles moving forward in an orderly fashion, especially as part of a ceremony.

A public procession, especially one celebrating a special day or event.

A mass meeting of people making a political protest or showing support for a cause.

Etymology

Late Old English, via Old French from Latin aradere(n-), from aradere ‘move forward’ (see proceed).

Mid-17th century: from French, literally ‘a showing’, from Spanish arade and Italian parata, based on Latin parare ‘prepare, furnish’.

Early 17th century (in the sense ‘bring together again’): from French rallier, from re- ‘again’ + allier ‘to ally’.

Characteristics

Organized group or line walking together

Celebration, Wild, a large party

Demonstration, usually for political or religious beliefs.

Mood

Somber, serious, sometimes sad (in case of a funeral)

Happy, exited

Tense, at times angry

Example

Church Procession

Funeral Procession

Royal Procession

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

New Orleans Mardi Gras parade

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

Women’s March

Occupy Wall Street

Gay Marriage Rally

Reference: Oxford Dictionaries (Procession, Parade and Rally),
Wikipedia (Procession, Parade and Rally)
Image Courtesy: catholicherald.co.uk, tournamentofroses.com

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