The Fancy division clubs wear large, ornate costumes, carrying back pieces and performing with floats and props. The Philadelphia Mummers Parade is believed to be one of the oldest folk festivals in America, and a tradition that has been going on since the time of ancient Egyptians. Compiled by Steve Coper, Fralinger String Band. The long-held tradition that persuades Philadelphians to bundle up and watch a parade hours after ringing in the new year, or to put on costumes heavy enough to cause back problems if not careful is going on its 119th celebration. The marching leader of the band or Captain makes their elaborate debut doing the “2 Street Strut”. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and Greece, England, Germany, and France. Mummery in America is as unique to Philadelphia as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans. Gallen “probably saved” Doran from being trampled by a horse as she crossed the parade route at Broad and Race Streets, the Inquirer reported in February 1911. US: Mummers Strut Despite Philly Parade Cancellation Mayor Jim Kenney announced in July that the city would not grant permits to planned outdoor events with more than 50 people, effectively canceling the large annual parade and other events as officials struggled to keep a lid on the spread of the virus. “The girl was so shocked by her narrow escape from probable death that she fainted, and her rescuer took her to the Hahnemann Hospital.”. “Because it’s secretive until New Year’s Day, but that has gone by the wayside.”. Wolf’s school funding plan would help Philly. Their story didn’t end there. Mummers History. It came to a head in 1860 when Isaac Mercer was murdered, which led to a ban on mummering. “The crowd of weeping youngsters finally became so great that they were taken to the House of Detention at Twenty-second and Arch Streets, where all persons were directed when they sought lost children.”, » READ MORE: Less ‘diversity’ in 2019 Mummers Parade, but whose fault is that? In both of those years, Mummers still took to the streets to celebrate. That was well, for some of the police were not quite so good-natured, and one doughty traffic cop who roughed a woman with a child in her arms has his face soundly smacked. Police kept themselves occupied "for several hours piloting crying children through the crowds to the police matron's headquarters on the eighth floor of City Hall.". (Video by Julia Hatmaker/PennLive) After finding out that they lived near each other, Gallen visited Doran to see how she was doing. By the 1870’s, what had been an uncoordinated group of neighborhood celebrations turned into an area-wide parade with two main groups of participants: Fancy Dress and Comic clubs. The Philadelphia Mummers Parade. It is from the entire Delaware Valley community where musicians and helpers (called Marshals) are recruited and trained. Two pairs of scissors and Mergerum’s hair were allegedly found on him, though he contended he was innocent. “Policeman Gallen, who was on duty at that point, saw the young woman’s peril and rushed into the street, clasped her in his arms, and carried her to a place of safety,” the Inquirer reported. 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. Stephen's Day and also in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador around Christmas. It is also from this community where the clubs derive the funds used for the costumes and operations of their clubhouses. The first thing you notice is that all the faces in the crowd are obscured as they shamble on by in the … | Stu Bykofsky. Comic division clubs lampoon modern day local and national political and social themes. It’s stories like these that make you wish you’d been there. Yesterday. That’s when things got dramatic. The Mummers Woodland String Band in 1937. Historically, Mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. This internationally known string band and marching unit has appeared in every parade since its inception, recording an unprecedented 20 first place finishes. For more than a century, Philadelphia has celebrated New Year’s Day with the Mummers Parade, a regional tradition that brings thousands into the streets to … Written by James Bland, an African American, which was introduced into the parade in … It’s not clear how they met their future husbands. The Fancy Brigade division clubs also wear large, ornate costumes, and perform intricate dances and drills with elaborate props. All of these cultures passed along their traditions from generation to generation, and eventually these traditions were brought to America by immigrants. 6 years ago | 5 views. Mummering is a traditional Christmas amusement that involves participants—known as mummers—dressing up in wild costumes, donning masks or wearing veils over their faces, and distorting their voices, all in an attempt to avoid being recognized. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported recently that two previous attempts in the 119-year history of the parade to call it off — in 1919 due to World War I and in 1934 due to the Great Depression — hadn't gone well. Today, professional designers and costumers are utilized. The Mummers Parade, believed to be the nation’s oldest folk festival, stems from a mixture of immigrant traditions, some dating back of the 1640s, dubbed “mummer” probably from the German word for “mask.” It mixes the immigrant traditions of the Scandinavians who welcomed the new year with gunfire, the English and Welsh who entertained with masquerade plays, and the Germans credited with … Traditionally, band members, wives and friends made the costumes. Mummers Museum History. This Magic Gardens Mummers suit may be the most Philly thing ever, Mummers Parade judges gather for calm lunch before stormy parade, Comcast boosts internet speeds for its cheapest plan to aid homebound students, A very Philly ‘marriage selfie mural’ is going up at the Wedding License Bureau in City Hall, St. Joe’s Prep alum pledges $5 million, the school’s largest gift ever, to transform the campus and aid needy students, First city-run mass vaccine site opens after Philly Fighting COVID debacle; N.J. restaurants can increase capacity; tracking Pa. vaccinations by county. Mummers Parade judges gather for calm lunch before stormy parade We dug through the Inquirer archives to find bits of odd news from the parade’s earliest days. Although it is unclear precisely when this tradition was brought to Newfoundland by the English and Irish, the earliest record dates back to 1819. Some Mummers strut despite Philadelphia parade cancellation . He got away, but apparently not far. The first official parade was held January 1, 1901. The article was headlined, “Policeman wins bride by bravery.”. In both cases, Mummers still took to the streets to celebrate. The City of Philadelphia finally sponsored and organized the first official Mummers Parade on January 1, 1901. Before there were cellphones, GPS tracking, and kid leashes, you were lucky if your lost kids ended up at City Hall. One of the first String Band clubs was Trilby, who first paraded in 1902 and is still in existence today. 0:13. History An old Christmas custom from England and Ireland, mummering in a version of its modern form can be traced back in Newfoundland into the 19th century. by Elizabeth Whitten. Later they extended their period of celebration to include New Year’s Day, and welcomed the New Year with masquerades and parades of noisy revelers. We dug through the Inquirer archives to find bits of odd news from the parade’s earliest days. Dessie Daryn. Classic. Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. Despite the secrecy, their parents weren’t mad at all. Mummers Parade Wikipedia 2020. An “acquaintance was formed” and they married on Valentine’s Day. Brilliant materials, glitter, sequins and feathers are all combined to make the showy costumes. To define them simply, Mummers are costumed entertainers welcoming in the New Year. The throng howled with glee, growled in anger, and then forgot it in renewed interest in the passing show.”, » READ MORE: Mummers Parade 2019: Your ultimate guide. The first cancellation happened in 1919 as a result of the aftermath of World War I and the second cancellation occurred in 1934 due to the effects of the Great Depression and a lack of prize money. How the Mummers Got Here – Quaker City. There are eighteen String Band organizations in existence today. The first two attempts to do so were in 1919 due to World War I and in 1934 due to the Depression. Dem Golden Slippers” is the traditional anthem of the Mummers. “These are tales that the old-timers used to tell, but some of those stories are long gone because the individuals have passed,” Montanaro said. Merry Christmas from PHMC! But as the years go by, stories like that fade into memory. During the 1923 parade — which was postponed a couple of days because of rain — 33 kids slipped from the grasp of “distracted parents and relatives,” the Inquirer reported. 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. [3] The celebration was a bit of a cupid’s arrow for Gertrude Doran and Francis Gallen, a patrolman stationed at 20th and Buttonwood Streets. Every year, each String Band selects an annual theme, and debuts their new music and costumes in the Philadelphia New Year’s Day parade. We could recount the tale, but it’s best to hear it in 1920s newspaper-speak: “But for the most part the crowd was good-natured, grinned and bore it, and had thought only for the marching mummers. Updated 9:34 am EST, Saturday, January 2, 2021 Costumed participants take to … Goodman and Lassiter noted the racist and offensive history of the Mummers Parade, which included racially derogatory skits and marchers and … The residents of … 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. The judges for the Mummers Parade met up on Monday to grab lunch and some last-minute tips from city leaders. However, the word Mummer can be traced back to ancient Greece. The 120-year-old Mummers Parade has only been cancelled twice (1919 and 1934). A few members of the Holy Rollers N.Y.B. Ah, right — the old “using the Mummers Parade as an excuse to run off and get married” bit. The tradition of Philadelphia Mummery started in the late 17th century as a continuation of the Old World customs of ushering in the New Year. The parade is related to the Mummers Play tradition from Britain and Ireland. Ron Todt, Associated Press. Quick story: once when leaving a wedding at a hotel, everyone kinda sad the party was over, we waited for an elevator. "Mummers are friends 364 days a year," he joked. Though some parts of the big day are still kept close to the heart until the parade, Montanaro said some of the secrecy has faded because of social media. Philadelphia Mummers of Today. » READ MORE: The Mummers Parade is a heavy lift. The Philadelphia Mummers of today total over 10,000 marchers. Groups would travel from house to house, sing songs, and perform dances — all to be rewarded with food and drink. But the building wasn’t meant for dozens of confused kids. The door slid open to a packed elevator of mummers in full costume with banjos, etc. Read our extended history here! Margerum later withdrew the charge — advice that came from her father, a policeman. Most people carried firearms for protection in those early days of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it did not take long before pistols and muskets joined with bells and noisemakers to create the sound of a New Year. The city’s biggest ask in advance of the 119-year-old New Year’s Day party: Commitment to the community has always been one of the basic principles of Mummers clubs, especially String Band clubs. From its first New Years Day Mummers Parade in 1923, the band's history of prize-winning mirrors such perennial greats as the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. Montanaro said competition would get so extreme rivals would kidnap other clubs' captains so they couldn’t march in the parade. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported recently that two previous attempts in the 119-year history of the parade to call it off — in 1919 due to World War I and in 1934 due to the Great Depression — didn't gone well. South Philadelphia String Band Mummers 2013. To celebrate the day, … Follow. Report. in the 2008 parade presenting their theme "Our Hearts are Wild for Diamonds". No longer do Mummers confide their themes to a Catholic priest to ensure they stay secret until the big day — an “old practice,” Montanaro said. “Well, rumor has it in the early days of the parade that clubs would try to put ladders on clubhouses and climb the ladders to take a peek to see what their competition was doing,” he said. Those who “shot in” the New Year became New Year’s Shooters, and thus the name much later evolved to officially become the New Year’s Shooters and Mummers Association. “For instance, the string bands used to give a Catholic priest their themes, and if a band ... said, ‘Father, we want to do clowns,’ the priest would look at his list and if somebody was doing clowns, he would say no. Dem Golden Slippers" is the traditional anthem of the Mummers. Playing next. First: The Mummers Parade has a long history of controversy, but the latest iteration could be forging ahead with a large gathering in the pandemic. Parade rules do not permit the use of brass instruments in a String Band; the instrumentation is exclusively saxophones, banjos, accordions, violins, bass violins, and percussion instruments. Way before Tinder, there was the Mummers Parade. Doran was crossing the street when horses pulling a float became afraid and ran toward her. Margerum was with two friends when she felt a tug and found that “one her thickest curls had disappeared.” A nearby man, John Laudenberg, was apparently acting strangely. Whether you’re waiting for the parade to start or trying to find out more about the history of the unusual celebration, here are a few strange scenes from long-ago parades. I still think Anna is a bit too young, but I am sure they will be happy, and that’s all that counts.”, In 1903, a man was charged with cutting off a “quantity” of Elsie Margerum’s hair as she watched the parade along Girard Avenue — and she was absolutely “grief-stricken over the loss of her golden tresses,” the Inquirer reported in a 1903 article headlined, “Locks were cut among big crowd.”. Comic division clubs lampoon modern day local and national political … It would give big increases to some wealthier suburban districts, too. But instead, they tied the knot with two boys, ages 20 and 18, admitting they “had to do a bit of fibbing” about their ages. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and Greece, England, Germany, and France. Turns out the Mummers used to be secretive — very, very secretive. Mummers 10.0: A History & Evolution of Mummering in Newfoundland. “They looked so happy when they broke the news to me. A 116 year old tradition in the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported recently that two previous attempts in the 119-year history of the parade to call it off — in 1919 due to World War I and in 1934 due to the Great Depression — hadn’t gone well. During the 1850s and ‘60s, mummering became associated with violence, often along religious lines. These marchers take steps to avoid injury. The parade is still held on New Year’s Day, with four distinct divisions: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade, Wench Briagde and String Band. The 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. History of the Mummers Mummers’ celebrations in America date back to colonial times, when the boisterous Swedish custom of celebrating the end of the calendar year with noise making and shouting was combined with the tradition of the British mummery play. The City of Philadelphia finally sponsored and organized the first official Mummers Parade on January 1, 1901. 3:56. 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. Whether you’re waiting for the parade to start or trying to find out more about the history of the unusual celebration, here are a few strange scenes from long-ago parades. I’m happy to be back with you. Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. The parade is still held on New Year’s Day, with four distinct divisions: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade, Wench Briagde and String Band. The Philadelphia Mummers of today total over 10,000 marchers. I enjoyed reading the history of mummers and had only thought of them in those wonderful parades. The String Band division clubs not only wear elaborate costumes like the Fancy and Fancy Brigade divisions, but also drill and perform playing musical instruments. History shows that canceling the parade will not stop Mummers from marching. So it’s certainly accumulated its fair share of history. For example, the Swedes were Philadelphia’s first settlers. Philly opens first new vaccination clinic; N.J. relaxes restaurant, bar restrictions, California residents do not sell my data request. A pair of teen sisters, Anna, 14, and Ruth, 16, of Manayunk, told their parents they were going to “see the Mummers Parade” in a “carefully planned” scheme, the Inquirer reported in 1924. The Mummers Parade, believed to be the nation’s oldest folk festival, stems from a mixture of immigrant traditions, some dating back of the 1640s, dubbed “mummer” probably from the German word for “mask.” Written by James Bland, an African American, which was introduced into the parade in 1905 by minstrel Charles Dumont. In both cases, Mummers still took to the streets to celebrate. The Ferko String Band has never missed a parade since they started marching in 1923 and the Hegeman band is one of the oldest String Bands dating back to 1920. Mummers Museum History. And that’s all he would say and the band would have to go back to the drawing board.”. These Mummers then go from house to house playing music, dancing, telling jokes, performing skits, and generally acting foolish. A . Historically, Mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. “It’s a shame because there were probably some really good insider stories.”, © 2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC Terms of Use/Privacy Policy/California Notice California residents do not sell my data request. Good morning. When they came to Tinicum, just outside of Philadelphia, they brought their custom of visiting friends on “Second Day Christmas”, December 26. Though they were not detailed in newspaper archives, Montanaro shared some stories that have been passed down through generations. History[edit]. “I couldn’t do anything but just kiss and forgave them,” their mother, Mrs. Jones, told the Inquirer in 1924. Footage of the 2019 Philadelphia Mummers Parade, held on Jan. 1, 2019, on Broad Street in Philadelphia. The Mummers in Philadelphia dates back to the mid 1800’s, with several different stories circulating. One unnamed woman wasn’t having it when police were clearing a path for anyone who needed medical attention quickly. In both cases, Mummers still took to the streets to celebrate. The Philadelphia Mummers Parade is believed to be one of the oldest folk festivals in America, and a tradition that has been going on since the time of ancient . It is derived from … Browse more videos. Mummers String Bands are known, not only for the unique sound, but also for their elaborate costumes.