It’s Mummers’ Time

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While many of us are prepping to celebrate Christmas, others are already looking ahead to Philadelphia’s 113-year-old tradition — the Mummers parade. as a KYW Newsradio reporter, I covered more of these New Year’s Day extravaganzas than I wish to remember. Most of those Jan. 1 days were bitterly cold and many times I dragged our young son Adam with me as we walked from Broad Street and Oregon Avenue north to City Hall — and back to Oregon Avenue and up to City Hall for the string band finale — sometimes not until 9 or 10 p.m. (in those days).

While the parade route is shorter and special performances are now inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the excitement continues.

What exactly is a mummer? Some say it evolved from the word mimic. Others say the word “Mummer” is German for “costume or masquerade.” According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Mummers Parade “is considered the nation’s oldest continuous folk event. It dates back to ancient Roman laborers celebrating the holidays by marching and wearing masks, while exchanging gifts and satirizing issues of the day.

“Locall (In Philadelphia), starting in the 17th century, the tradition evolved into neighborhood parades with cultural flavor.

“Today,” says The Inquirer, the carnival-like event of floats, costumes, dances and music has become synonymous with New Year’s Day.”

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Mummers, about 10,000 in all, hail from social clubs throughout the city (and suburbs) that practice all year long for the big strut up Broad Street” — the longest, straightest street in the United States.

To you and yours, from me and mine: Happy NewS Year!!!

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