The world renowned Philadelphia Mummers Parade kicks off today, New Year’s Day. The procession will start at 10 a.m from Broad Street to Washington Avenue and lasts a whole day. Just what makes this day such a special day? There are more than 10,000 fans from both near and far that come to witness the colorful parade. Women with mustaches and beards and men dressed in dresses and makeup, feathers, confetti, boas and sequins all combine to make an amazing spectacle.
What is the Mummers Parade
Well, this event dates back to the mid 17 century and is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the United States. The parade is an infusion of Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German, and African heritage. The Parade took its name from the Mummers Plays (also known as mumming). These are seasonal folk plays performed by groups of actors called mummers originally from the British Isles.
What to expect
There are four mummer categories: Comics, Fancies, Fancy brigades and String bands. The participants normally spend months to prepare the movable sceneries and elaborate costumes in order to produce the adorable fan experience in form of music, satire, and theatrics. Each of the categories may consist of between a few dozen to a few hundred people called mummers. The mummers are mostly people from the neighborhood who want to give their fans an unforgettable New Year thrill and continue the community tradition.
The legendary American tradition normally starts with comics, lampooning pop culture and hot political issues. What follows are the Comic Wench brigades of men dressed in bloomers and hats, followed by the stylish Fancies with feathered, sequin-studded costumes. The string bands follow next with live musical performances and intricate choreography.
How it goes
Different clubs stop to make a performance as they make their way through the carnival, each depicting a different theme. The themes can vary; from current political affairs to ridiculous or satirical depiction. Some clubs, however, may have an ongoing theme that stays the same each year.
If you happen to be in Philly for New Year's Day don't miss the parade.
See Last Years Mummers Parade 2013
Image via Wikipedia