Five Reasons Why Philadelphia is THAT Awesome!
New Year’s Day is about celebrating, and there’s no better place or way to carry on the celebrations than the 2014 Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade. So this week to prepare you for the annual festival, were giving you 5 things you may or may not have known about the Mummers. Just another FIVE reasons why Philadelphia is just THAT awesome.
- Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and Greece, England, Germany, and France. Historically, Mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions.
- The Philadelphia Mummers of today total over 10,000 marchers. The parade is still held on New Year’s Day, with four distinct divisions: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. Comic division clubs lampoon modern day local and national political and social themes. The Fancy division clubs wear large, ornate costumes, carrying back pieces and performing with floats and props. The Fancy Brigade division clubs also wear large, ornate costumes, and perform intricate dances and drills with elaborate props.
- Mummers String Bands are known, not only for the unique sound, but also for their elaborate costumes. Brilliant materials, glitter, sequins and feathers are all combined to make the showy costumes. Traditionally, band members, wives and friends made the costumes. Today, professional designers and costumers are utilized. In Philadelphia, the cost of costuming an average 64-piece band is between $30,000 and $80,000, with the captain’s costume costing as high as $10,000.
- There are eighteen String Band organizations in existence today. Every year, each String Band selects an annual theme, and debuts their new music and costumes in the Philadelphia New Year’s Day parade. The marching leader of the band or Captain makes their elaborate debut doing the “2 Street Strut”.
- People from the “City of Brotherly Love” know the excitement of a Mummers performance, but the Mummers also preserve that sense of nostalgia and tradition. Commitment to the community has always been one of the basic principles of Mummers clubs, especially String Band clubs. It is from the entire Delaware Valley community where musicians and helpers (called Marshals) are recruited and trained. It is also from this community where the clubs derive the funds used for the costumes and operations of their clubhouses. It is to this community the String Bands return the gratitude expressed by making each New Year’s Day theme performance more exciting than the last.
Read more about the history about the Mummers.
So, to ring in 2014, get down to South Philly and celebrate with those who best know how!
2014 Mummers Parade
When: January 1, 10 a.m.-about 6 p.m
Where: Parade runs along Broad Street, beginning at Oregon Avenue and ending at City Hall
Cost: Free along main route
Have a wonderful, safe, and healthy New Year, Philly!
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