If you live or work in Philadelphia, I hope you have heard of the Mummers. I say this not only because they are Philly-Famous, but because I was late to the Mummer game. I’m ashamed to say that I lived in the city for quite a few years before I knew about the Mummers and yet a few years more before I saw the Mummer’s Parade on New Year’s Day. Now, living in the Bella Vista neighborhood and knowing a few South Philadelphians, I am keen on the Mummer’s tradition.
I won’t talk too much about the Mummer History in this post; but if you are interested in their history, you can visit the Mummer’s Museum at http://www.mummersmuseum.com/home.html. With regards to their history, I will say that the Mummers are officially a century-old tradition in Philadelphia. The first official Mummer’s Parade was sponsored by the City of Philadelphia on Jan. 1, 1901. And let me say, they have since become an integral part of Philly’s culture.
Preparing all year for their New Year’s Day celebration, the Mummers create performance of costume, music, dance, usually a storyline, and sometimes even confetti. There are, of course, varying levels of performance associated with their big day, depending on the Mummers division you are watching. There are 4 different divisions; the Comics, the Fancies, the String Bands, and the Fancy Brigades. On the first day of every year, they march north on Broad Street from different points depending on the division; the shortest start point being Washington Street.
Unofficially, this is an event not to be missed. Like I mentioned earlier, the Mummers convene all year to plan for the event; the performances do not disappoint. And don’t forget- this is a celebration! The atmosphere and attitude of the parade is much like a New Years Eve celebration from the night before- I encourage you to go, you won’t regret it. I promise!