5:38 PM

New Year's Day - Philly Style

Posted by Skye |

The New Year's Day Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. A longstanding tradition in Philly that is endangered by budget deficits.

It would not be New Year's Day without having the television tuned to the parade all day long. This year instead of enjoying the parade from the comfort of my living room, I joined with friends and braved the chilly weather to experience a few hours of this yearly spectacle. You have to be on Broad Street to appreciate the magic of this parade. It can be quite fun, despite the biting cold.

Had a great time photographing with slowly numbing fingers. You can view the product of my labor on Flickr.

You can view the magnificent Neocon's photos HERE

The tradition of mummery goes way back in European history. In every culture that it has existed, it was a time for people to act like goofballs, dress funny and have a good time. The European settlers in this area, namely the Swedes, brought with them their masquerading traditions of welcoming in the New Year. Note that the Swedish had settled in this area decades before William Penn sailed into town on the Welcome. Over the years, the tradition of mummery had evolved into neighborhood celebrations that were formally sponsored by the city of Philadelphia beginning on January 1, 1901. in 2008, due to budgetary mismanagement by the city council, the city can no longer afford this event. What a shame, as I saw lots of kids walking or being carried by their parents as they strutted down Broad Street.

Today's Mummers are divided into four categories: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. The photos I am sharing with you are from the Comic division. Their role is comic relief by lampooning current political and social themes. Lots of fodder for photography there!

Fralinger String Band was the 2008 Mummers Day Parade 1st place winner, and I have the video that proves why:

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