Beds around the world went pillow-less last weekend. Saturday was International Pillow Fight Day, and in cities from London to Taiwan, parks filled with flash mobs armed with the seemingly innocent household object in every shape size and color. Bostonians celebrated the invasion of fluff and feathers on the North End’s Rose Kennedy Greenway- a location that was not announced until midnight on Friday.
Dozens of people packed the greenway; the final facebook event count was 1,058, though not quite so many people actually attended. For the hour-long duration of the fight the park echoed with the unexpectedly loud thwomp of pillows and euphoric screams of children and adults alike. Attendees ducked under others in the chaotic exhilaration where friends and strangers alike pummeled one another with their own downy masses.
Celebrating National Pillow Fight Day is a, ”family friendly entertaining way to spend an afternoon,” said Banditos Misteriosos, who hosted the Boston affair. The tall statured and good-natured Misteriosos- a pseudonym- was the speaker for a group who dub themselves as “Boston’s Mysterious Playmate.” The event founder was easily identifiable clad in a referee shirt and carrying a long green rake; he monitored the fight to assure there was no trouble, but none occurred- with the exception of a few injured and abandoned pillows.
Misteriosos said there are a lot of great parks in the city, such as the greenway used by the group on Saturday. Having the pillow fights is a unique and fun way to utilize the open spaces.
An event posting that told Bostonians to: “invite your friends, enemies, grandparents, foster children, penpals, pets, and mentors. Dress up, dress down, come in teams, come by yourself, and remember – LET’S SHAKE SOME DUST!” Directions were complied with in full.
“People attack you more when you dress up,” said Christine Smith, Boston University Senior who has been present for the past three battles. “I wore a grim reaper outfit last year, but today was colder.” Smith says the vivacious event attracts many of the same people from year-to-year. Her favorite: the three boys dressed as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore. Along with the cast of the Hundred Acre Wood, Katniss of “The Hunger Games,” a few super heroes, and many others characters made an appearance at the park invasion. “It’s a great way to take your mind off exams, and goof off a bit,” said Smith.
For many, such as Chris Kennedy, National Pillow Fight Day is not a recognized holiday. Kennedy attended the event by chance. While visiting their eldest daughter, who lives in the area, Kennedy and his three children stumbled upon the mass battle. They were able to partake due to a generous stranger who possessed enough pillows to share. This exemplifies the unique camaraderie that dozens of unrelated people felt towards one another at the park on Saturday.
Participants agreed the event was a distinctive way to dispense with the formalities usually found in daily city life, and just pound on strangers with pillows. Brighton residents Sarah Kirks and her four-year-old son Octavio, have been attending for three years, and plan to return again. “I love seeing so many people having fun… random strangers, even though they are beating on each other, are having a good time.”
“We don’t announce [the event location] until midnight the day before because it adds a degree of excitement, and a lot of times we don’t know until the day before,” says Misteriosos. At the end of the event the group rakes up any misplaced fuzz, and collects the pile of neglected pillows. Soon after, visitors to the greenway would be as unaware that the jovial skirmish had ever occurred, as anyone had been at 11:30 the night before.
Akin to organizations across the world, Banditos Misteriosos has held the brightly adorned battles in Boston parks for the previous four years, in locations including Cambridge Commons and Copley Square. The mysterious planners intend to continue the tradition next year, location unknown. But residents should keep their pillows fluffed: next April, somewhere in Boston, there is sure to be another flash of flying pillows.