Mummer’s Day Parade

String Band

String Band

Every New Year’s Day here in Philadelphia, the Mummers march up Broad Street. The tradition of mummery started here in the late 17th century with a blend of European, British, and later African-American influences. In 1901, this informal tradition became a city sponsored event and the march up Broad Street began. Marchers used to wear makeshift costumes, but since the 1900’s costumes have gotten more elaborate. Currently 10,000 people march in the parade.

Fancy Costume

Fancy Costume

This is more than just a one day event for the participants. Many work all year to come up with themes, create costumes and floats, and practice routines. Groups raise thousands of dollars to pay professionals to help with the elaborate costumes and choreography.

Floats

Floats

Although this is not high art, I think it is amazing that so many people have found this to be a rewarding creative outlet. Some people are offended by the political satire and the buffoonery of the comics, but it is part of the tradition of the comics to poke fun. When I saw these religious cows marching up the street, I wondered what it represented. And then it hit me- holy cow!

Holy Cow

Holy Cow

I took these photos of the parade a few years back when January 1st was a balmy day; many spectators were in short sleeves. This year the temperatures were record lows, so I stayed inside, even though the parade route is only around the corner. Maybe January 1st, 2015 will be warm enough to take new photos.

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