The Mummers Parade takes place every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia. Started in 1901, it is the longest-running continuous folk parade in the United States.
Local clubs, usually called “New Year’s Associations” or “New Year’s Brigades”, compete in one of five categories: comics, wench brigades, fantasies, string bands and fantasy brigades. They prepare elaborate costumes, performance routines, and moving sets, which take months to complete. This is done in clubhouses, many of which are on or near 2nd Street (called “Two Street” by some local residents) in the Pennsport neighborhood of the city’s South Philadelphia section, which also serve as venues. social gathering for members.
The parade dates back to the mid-17th century and combines elements of Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German and other European heritage, as well as African heritage.
The parade is related to the Mummers Play tradition of Great Britain and Ireland. Revivals of this tradition are still celebrated annually in South Gloucestershire, England, on Boxing Day along with other locations in England and in parts of Ireland on St. Esteban and also in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador around Christmas.
The Swedes and Finns, the first European settlers in the Philadelphia area, brought with them to Tinicum the custom of visiting neighbors on the “second day of Christmas” (December 26). This soon extended into New Year’s Day with costumed celebrants parading noisily through the city. They appointed a “speech director,” who performed a special dance to a traditional rhyme.
The 2024 Mummers Parade, one of the most colorful parades you can find, took place this Monday morning in Philadelphia. It was the 124th Mummers Parade.
Every year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York marks the start of the season of holiday and year-end celebrations, but as the calendar debuts, another US city draws thousands of people to begin 2024 with the holding of the oldest folklore procession in the country: The Mummers that appear on the main streets of Philadelphia and have become the favorite event, according to a recent survey.
This January 1, the 124th edition of the traditional parade took place, attracting crowds eager to witness a colorful spectacle in the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, where a route begins at the intersection of 17th and Market and then head south of the city along Board Street to Washington Avenue.
On the catwalk, the so-called Mummers, who are members of clubs, groups or brigades that participate in this festivity, perform humorous performances, musical performances, elaborate choreographies and dazzling displays of traditional costumes. “The family gets together and watching the parade is a great family event. They will come, they will talk to you, they will take photos with you; “It’s just a fun day,” Arlene Taylor told CBS about the occasion she plans to attend with her grandson.
In addition to being a celebration that brings the community together, the Mummers Parade has gained national recognition and was recently voted the “most festive and fun” public event in a USA Today reader poll, even overtaking the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, which ranked third in preferences.
“The good weather factor this Monday could make this year’s parade especially special,” said Scott Brown, executive director of the Mummers Museum, in charge of organizing the colorful parade, which estimated the participation of about 10,000. people. “People are happy, they are coming back.”
Regarding the preparations for the traditional event, Brown mentioned that it has been several days of long nights and early mornings to get everything ready. Since the weekend and the early hours of Monday, important road closures have been carried out, so residents are asked to take precautions for possible traffic complications.
The Mummers Day parade has been held since 1901 in Philadelphia as part of the New Year’s celebrations and has since flourished as a unique expression of local identity. The term comes from the British word momus, which refers to the festive parades and celebrations of centuries past in Europe.
Unlike other similar events in the United States, the Mummers parade is not simply a runway show, but rather a constantly evolving artistic expression that reflects the creativity and ingenuity of the community. Throughout the year, participants work hard to exceed expectations, crafting their costumes while practicing increasingly impressive performances. Additionally, the competition between the various clubs and brigades adds an element of excitement and healthy rivalry to the event.
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Día de los Mummers
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