What Is A Mummer?
A mummer is someone who belongs to one of the Philadelphia New Years clubs. These clubs compete in the annual Philadelphia Mummers Parade. The parade is held on New Years Day, weather permitting. There are four divisions in the parade. They are the Comics, Fancies, String Bands, and finally, the Fancy Brigades. If you would like to learn about the origins of the parade, or the mummers name and traditions, then you can find that at Wikipedia - Mummers Parade .
Mummers are truckers and longshoremen and businessmen and bookkeepers and everyday people who work hard at their day jobs. Membership means a year-round commitment. They raise money for their club, come up with themes, design and build costumes, props and floats, and practice, practice, and practice.
A mummers club is a social club. Club members are a tight-knit group who treat fellow members like family. Members attend and participate in many events throughout the year. There are softball leagues, banquets, fund-raisers, and other events. Many clubs perform at various functions throughout the year and are available for hire.
Mummers Fest is held during the week prior to New Years in the Philadelphia Convention Center.
On New Years Day, the parade is held and there are two Fancy Brigade Finale shows inside the Convention Center.
After the official parade, the real fun begins. This is sometimes referred to as the unofficial mummers parade. It takes place along 2nd. Street, or Two Street, in South Philly. After they march, or do the show, the Mummers go there to march for, and celebrate in, the neighborhood.
There is also the tradition that the losing clubs all go the winning club and serenade them, usually on the first Saturday after New Years. This is a wild and raucous party that lasts well into the next day. They say the Philadelphia Mummers celebration is like nothing else in the world, being every bit as wild and crazy as the mardis-gras.