A pageant is a particular form of celebratory public event, often a dramatization of a historical or social occurrence.
According to the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (© 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.) the term pageant derives from the Middle English pagyn, pagaunt, which in turn may refer to the Anglo-Latin pāgina (=stage, scene, platform), and can refer to a range of public events, including "1. an elaborate costumed procession or parade, often with floats, forming part of public or social festivities; 2. an elaborate public spectacle illustrative of the history of a place, institution, or the like; 3. something comparable to such a spectacle or procession in its variety or grandeur: the pageant of Renaissance history; 4. a show or exhibition: e.g a beauty pageant; or 5. (in medieval times) a platform on which scenes from mystery plays were presented".
See for example
The Free Dictionary by Farlex (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pageant)
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