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Mummers Parade in Philadelphia

New Year's Day Parade

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When: The Mummers Parade takes place on January 1 at 10 a.m. and ends around 5 p.m.

Where: The Mummers Parade forms at Broad Street and Washington Avenue and travels up Broad to City Hall. The following areas are designated stops for performance and make great places to watch:

  • Broad and Shunk Streets
  • Broad and Ritner Streets
  • Broad Street and Washington Avenue
  • Broad and Sansom Streets
  • Judging areas near City Hall

What is a Mummer?

The term "Mummer" is German for "to costume or masquerade." In current-day Philadelphia, a mummer is a lavishly costumed, dancing, marching, instrument-playing, feather-and-sequin-covered man or woman. The Mummers celebrate every occasion, but none more so than the New Year, which they usher in with a parade. If you haven’t seen a Mummers parade before, it is a sight not to be missed. The Mummers Parade today includes over 10,000 participants. There are multiple divisions of Mummers including: the Comic Division, the Fancy Division, the String Bands, the Wench Brigades and the Fancy Brigades.

The official Philly Mummers website says:

“To define them simply, Mummers are costumed entertainers that welcome in the New Year. 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. Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes.”

History

While the earliest Mummers date back to ancient Egypt, the tradition of Mummers in Philadelphia began in the late 17th century. It can be traced back to early Swedish settlers who used to visit neighbors around the holidays and dance and sing in exchange for food and drink. The Mummers tradition has held strong ever since. The first official parade was help in 1901. The joyous group is passionate and proud, and their traditions have become an important part of Philadelphia history. The Mummers Museum in South Philadelphia pays homage to this unique group so if you want to learn more, take a trip to the museum or visit the Mummers website.

Food
You will find food sold by vendors at many spots along the parade route including Broad and Moravian streets (near Walnut St.), Broad and Bach streets (near Locust St.), Broad and Pine Streets, Broad Street and Washington Ave., City Hall (west side) and at various selected performance areas on South Broad Street in South Philadelphia.

Cost
The Parade is free but seating is first come first serve, so come early or bring a lawn chair to carve out your spot.

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