Every year at New Year’s in Philadelphia, all the local clubs compete and prepare elaborate costumes and beautiful movable sceneries depicting their culture and heritage for the annual Mummers parade. This parade has four categories namely; the Comics, Fancies, String Bands and the Fancy Brigades. This colorful and entertainment frenzy is worth the watch. With moving skits and fancy jigs, awe-inspiring costumes and amusing songs, music, fanfare and so much more. Come and help judge the best show in the parade so they can win the competition and book your cheap flights to Philadelphia now.
The Mummers tradition dates as far back as 400 BC to the Roman Festival of Saturnalias took place and where the Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day in colorful satires and exchanged gifts. This even included Celtic variations and other Druidic noise-making rituals which were used to drive away demons so that the New Year would start at a clean slate. These parades continued in Philadelphia even before the revolution and the first ‘official’ parade however was reported to be held on 1st January, 1901. A competition was held and each merchant participated and the best parader received $1,725 as prize money from the city.
The citizens of Philadelphia take the New Year celebrations and the Mummers parade very seriously and the participating clubs prepare their costumes and practice for months in advance for this one special day. Each of the Comedies or Fancies have their own complicated set of rules which they must follow in order to be judged. The String Bands are judged on their unique musical presentation along with the flair of their costumes. Seeing and hearing these special String Band performances live is a one-of-a-kind experience.
The themes that these clubs choose for display are everything of their Irish, Italian, English, Swedish, African, Latin or even southern backgrounds. They even choose themes from current issues or different news stories or even issues involving religion, death, ethnicity and feminism. Many Mummers even parade different controversies over past policies but at the end of the day it is a simply spectacular display of creativity and color. Something which in all its liveliness the whole family can enjoy.
To find out more about the past Mummers parades you can even visit the Mummers Museum. The parade routs around Philadelphia’s famous ‘two street’ which is the 2nd Street at the south end joining with Mifflin Street. You can even come by early and watch the Mummers rehearse their gigs at the Philadelphia Convention Center till the final release on New Year’s Day. Coming New Year the parade is being sponsored by Philadelphia’s own SugarHouse Casino and will be routed along the Broad Street route and stretch along South Philly to City Hall. The Casino is even offering free shuttle service to the parade and casino all day along with special New Year’s promotions of games and beverages for their guests.
Take a trip down to Philly this New Year’s Eve to catch all the excitement of the fantastical Mummers Parade the next day.