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The Mummer's Parade - Philadelphia, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member 94RedRover
N 39° 57.142 W 075° 09.790
18S E 486062 N 4422483
Quick Description: Every New Years Day in Philadelphia, the Mummer's Day Parade celebrates the mix of cultures in the City of Brotherly Love.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 3:25:02 AM
Waymark Code: WM86PY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member DougK
Views: 9

Long Description:
The tradition of mummery began around 400 BC, with the Roman Festival of Saturnalias. Latin laborers paraded in satirical masks, calling for food and drink. A Celtic touch of "trick-or-treat" soon mixed in, as did a Druid practice of noise-making to drive away demons for the new year. These rowdy crowds have hit the streets of Philadelphia, even prior to the American Revolution!

During the 17th century, the Swedish immigrants continued this Christmastime tradition. Philadelphia was a melting pot of cultures, and as time passed, these yearly celebrations began to include other culturial traditions.

In 1901, these celebrations became a more organized event. "Momer" is French for "to wear a mask" so, the Mummer's Day Parade was born. Around 15,000 people prepare for this event, by making elaborate costumes, flawless recitals and synchronized stepping. Nearly a million spectators line Broad Street watching the paraders.

The parade is broken up into four divisions: Comics, Fancy, String Band, and Fancy Brigade. The Comics represent the personification of Momus, the Greek God of mockery, blame, ridicule, scorn, raillery and stinging criticism who was expelled from heavenfor the ridicule of the Gods. In our character costumes, the comics continue the tradition of clowning and lampoon.

Following the Comics, the String Bands and Fancy Brigades offer full pageantry of intricate and colorful costumes. The string bands please the crowds with their prefectly practised playing.

At City Hall, each participant faces the judges, and prized are awarded for different categories in each division. I was lucky enough to be invited by the Landi Comic group to participate in the 2005 Mummer's Day Parade. I spent eight hours creating my balloon costume, a Model-T style "car" complete with a balloon horn. Under my costume, I had a real squeeze horn. I would go up to children on the parade route, and let them honk my horn. You should have seen their eyes when a real horn blew when they did that! I was simply called "Driving Miss Crazy."

The balloon gods were with me that day, as unusual warm weather gave me a 60 degree day. Only one balloon had popped by the time I finally strutted for the judges. As soon as they saw me and heard my character name, they were already laughing.

My husband, clad in his 1920's bathing suit costume rode his "bicycle" the whole parade route. Impressive with those shoes! It was a day of immense fun and every person in the parade was passionate and there to give their best.

I began marching at 8:00 am. Got to see the judges around 10:00 am. With 15,000 participants, the parade lasted until almost 6:00 pm! At 10:15 pm, I got a phone call from our group leader...

They loved my costume alright! I won 1st place for the Comics Division - Original Costume! My husband came in 16th...but he's still a winner in my book...just the clown that I married. Here's the link to the 2005 results...gotta scroll down to see me in the list! (visit link)

I was thrilled to see the Mummer's Parade in the USA and Canada book. Not only is the parade a celebration of the many cultures and traditions that make up our country, but the time and effort these participants put in, make this one of the greatest parades to experience. If you are lucky enough to experience it from within, even better. Been there...won that! (sorry, my pictures are only from our staging area. didn't have time for pictures during the parade)
Name of Source Book: 1,000 Places to See in the USA and CAnade Before You Die

Page Location in Source Book: 222-223

Type of Waymark: Event

Location of Coordinates: City Hall - The Judges!

Cost of Admission (Parks, Museums, etc.): 0.00 (listed in local currency)

List Available Hours, Dates, Season:
New Years Day - Comics march at 8:00


Official Tourism Website: [Web Link]

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marysuewashere visited The Mummer's Parade - Philadelphia, PA 1/7/2014 marysuewashere visited it
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94RedRover visited The Mummer's Parade - Philadelphia, PA 1/1/2005 94RedRover visited it
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