Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MUM 'S THE WORD FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY

 
 
The Mummers and  the New Years Day Mummer's Parade is huge business in Philadelphia. Most likely everyone knows at least someone connected to the Mummers. The only other place to see this much make up and feathers would be the Mistress's closet back before retiring from the drag arena . I have the parade on all day for guest and I usually get distracted by all the glitter and bright colors!!!
 
 
And the Parade and festivities are an all day event from 8am till around midnight, with our fine city jammed to the gills with Mummers, and parade goers. While Mummery is a brotherhood 364 days of the year, on New Year's Day they're musical adversaries. It is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the United States. Local clubs (usually called "New Years Associations") compete in one of four categories (comics, fancies, string bands, and fancy brigades). They prepare elaborate costumes and movable scenery, which take all year to complete.  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. The parade is related to the Mummers Playtradition from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.Revivals of this tradition are still celebrated annually in South Gloucestershire, England on Boxing Day and in parts of Ireland on St. Stephen's Day and also in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador around Christmas. Swedes, Philadelphia's first settlers, brought the custom of visiting neighbors on "Second Day Christmas" (December 26) with them to Tinicum. This was soon extended through New Year's Day with costumed celebrants loudly parading through the city.
 
 
 
 
The first official parade was held January 1, 1901. The first string band, Trilby, was organized in 1898, first paraded in 1902, and last paraded in 1924. The oldest continually marching string band, having never missed a parade, is the Joseph A. Ferko String Band organized in 1922, and first started marching in 1923. In the early years of the official parade, the makeshift costumes of most celebrants were gradually replaced by more elaborate outfits funded by associations' fund-raising efforts
 
 
The comics "wenches" and female parts in most skits are typically performed by men in drag. Women were not officially allowed in the parade until the 1970s, and what most interesting, some Mummers have been in the parade all their lives, some from very early ages.
 
 
The different divisions are as follows....
 
Comics are clowns, many of them well-liquored. This is where the Mistress would be. Colorful outfits, often with multi-level umbrellas who dance to recordings such as "Golden Slippers". The comics typically start the parade. Themes often gently parody current events and traditional life. Prizes are awarded for floats, groups, brigades, couples, original costume, original character, and juvenile.
 
 
 
Fancies or Wench brigades, is an offshoot of comics, and pride themselves on continuing traditions such as the dress-and-bloomers "suits", painted faces, decorated umbrellas, and live bands to accompany the brigade.
 
 
String bands provide elaborate performances. Limited to unamplified strings, reeds, and percussion, string bands feature banjos, saxophones, accordions, double basses, drums, glockenspiels and violins in musical arrangements tied to a theme presented by the captain, beautiful costumes and props (some people call them floats). String Band's first-prize-winning railroad tunes with Broadway-style dance in 1976 changed that. String-band performances are now the most elaborate of the parade.
 
 
 
The largest category with the largest crews, the fancy brigades march the southernmost portion of the parade route, before heading to the convention center for a ticketed show and judging. Until the late 1970s, the fancy brigades were simply larger presentations within the Fancies. As the props grew larger, more cumbersome and more vulnerable to wind, rain and snow, the decision was made to move the Brigades indoors, where they rival Broadway shows!!!
 
 
While the day is steeped in competition, the century-long Mummers parade is also smothered in tradition — not to mention feathers, sequins and glitter.
 
Is it any wonder why New Years Day is my favorite holiday next to Christmas?
 
And then there's, of course, my New Year's Day dinner of Pork and Sauerkraut, which will be coming out of the oven shortly!
 
 
Nice to keep these traditions going! Hope your all enjoying New Years Day!!!!

26 comments:

  1. oh dem golden slippers! (does the strut)

    my pork roast has been in my slow cooker since 9a. the house smells great (I am braising it in teriyake sauce and garlic to keep the vampires away).

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    1. My roast went it at 11! Is there a better smell on New Years Day???

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  2. This parade sounds simply marvellous, sweetie! London of course has its fireworks spectacular, and there is a New Year's parade, but nothing like this. A good way to start 2014 - in the company of musical drag artistes! Jx

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    1. It is quite something to behold! And after the parade, it looks like drag queens broke wind, with remnants of sequins and feathers on the streets! Happy New Years honey!

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  3. I just love all the tradition you keep alive! I have always wanted to go experience the parade some year, but for now I'll watch it from the warmth of my home. Lovely post!

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    1. I agree, the tube this year in the best option!

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  4. It is our family tradition for us to see the Mummers even since I was a little & always wind up interacting with them whether it is to take a picture with one or strut with them, .... they are ALL awesome and greatly appreciate all the love, dedication and work that is put in to it every year. Never any complaints here.

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  5. Wow!!!!!!! I Like this kind of entertainment very very much!

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  6. A blogging buddy of mine, Anne Johnson of http://godsrbored.blogspot.com, struts with the Two Street Stompers in the Mummers' Parade. She always has a blast!

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    1. Oh how fun is that!!!! All that excitement! I'll have to check her spot out.

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  7. Love the Mummers Parade! so fun!

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  8. As a adult I wondered what happened to the Mummers each New Years Day . . . because we had moved from Philly area when I was a kid, but my memories of the parade were quite fond.

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  9. Such a nice post for New Years Day. I just hope you weren't to tired!?! I just love to watch this. After our dinner, William and I will watch all day.
    Oh my... this is so awesome!!!! I can smell the beer breath and grease paint already! Love the vintage shots! I can smell your dinner!!!!

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    1. I didn't even install the scratch and sniff feature yet.

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  10. I'm so proud to be from Philly. We used to every year....and go visit all our Italian friends up and down Broad St.......everybody cooked, such great times!!! Happy New Years to you. Have fun with that delish dinner!

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  11. Pork and Sauerkraut, the music, the feathers and colors, the intricate dance, what better way to bring in the New Year?

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  12. I baked a pizza during the Winter Classic hockey game. My team won and I'm stuffed. Good times!

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  13. By god philly can get out the mummers and strut and party...I have loved watching this for years...thanks...new years in philly...the mummers are terrific... as will be that dinner!!!!!!!

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  14. That looks so fun and festive! And I saw a rehearsal tape, some of these guys are downright hot in the Fancy Brigade.

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  15. Is there any better parade in the country? It's almost like Rio.

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  16. Happy New Year to the Casa! Your meat and feast sound so good!* rubs self* If you like the Mummer's Parade, you must read Thomas Muldoon's Smoking in Bathrooms! Hilarious book.

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  17. Now we know where all the discarded drag grab went!

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  18. lovely vintage shots Maddie... I didn't know about this parade not being american and all... It looks a bit like Sydney's Mardi Gras with less skimpy costumes... enjoy your delicious looking repast darling...

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  19. Liquored-up clowns?

    I'll sit this one out.

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  20. It looks fabulous!
    And it's hard to impress a New Orleanian when it comes to costumes.
    :)
    Happy belated New Year!

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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