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01 January 2013 - 12:54 PMOn New Year's Day in Philadelphia there is a parade. Known locally as the Mummer's Parade. What is it about? Shooting in the new year of course! A time honored tradition that has been formed and molded over the years to be an annual end of celebration spectacle for new year's day!
Basically if you like to watch young drunken men in dresses and make-up dance around, really crude political satire, or maybe you have a hankering for folk music and large sized theatrical stage shows, then this is the parade for you! (Seriously, wench brigades are weird as hell!)
And if none of that tickles your fancy brigades, then how about the music? The culture? The tradition and history of it all? I'm talking saxophones, drums, banjos, xylophones, and even a few upright basses! Hell, we even got a Musuem here to honor it!
Check out this excerpt from the wiki article on some history if you think this is nonsense.
QuoteThe parade traces back to mid-17th-century roots, blending elements from Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German and other European heritages, as well as African heritage. The parade is related to the Mummers Play tradition from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Revivals of this tradition are still celebrated annually in South Gloucestershire, England on Boxing Day and in parts of Ireland on St. Stephen's Day and also in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador around Christmas.
Swedes, Philadelphia's first settlers, brought the custom of visiting neighbors on "Second Day Christmas" (December 26) with them to Tinicum. This was soon extended through New Year's Day with costumed celebrants loudly parading through the city.
It's a great way to nurse your hangover or spend some final holiday vacation with the family. And you can even watch it in Australia! The parade itself is quite a few hours long starting around 10am(EST-US) and lasting until about 6pm. Lots of small acts precede the well orchestrated Stringband performances at the end. The first few hours might be boring, but stick around for the String Bands, the true highlight of it and just a few hours later the indoor performances of the Fancy Brigades is a sight to behold.
And if you're located locally, well, you can even join in! I myself without signing any paperwork, waiver or release of contract or membership junk, helped build and put together the back drops and dancing stages for two different years with the same Band. I need to mention the 5 mile strut up Broad Street that took nearly 8 hours pushing huge backdrop pieces and stealing milk crates from 7-11s, all part of the fun as a non-performer marshal. I got dragged into it without much of a choice, but it was fun. All they ask is your time and elbow grease. And at the end of the parade that party on Two Street is unlike anything you'd see elsewhere.
This is no marketing ploy by a company. Without the sponsorships it has it wouldn't exist anymore. (Thanks Nutter!) This is local and non-local area people getting together and planning the performances, building the sets and costumes, practicing the musical numbers and shows. They don't do this for the money, cause their ain't none in it.
So sit back and enjoy the odd show we're about to put on for you.