Philly History Lesson: Who Are The Mummers

Who are the mummers

Being a Philadelphian, we are always asked about Mummers and Who are the Mummers? Here’s a little Mummer history lesson for you all…

The Mummers are community-based organizations, or “brigades,” that participate in the annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. The participants, also called Mummers, are mostly local residents who spend the year crafting elaborate costumes, practicing skits, and preparing musical performances. The term “Mummer” is derived from the German word “mummen,” which means to disguise or masquerade.

The Mummers Parade

The Mummers Parade is a spectacle of color and creativity, showcasing a variety of styles and performances. There are four main categories of Mummers: the Comics, the Fancies, the Fancy Brigades, and the String Bands. Each brings its own flavor to the parade, from the satirical and humorous skits of the Comics to the opulent and detailed costumes of the Fancies. The String Bands provide the musical heartbeat of the parade, playing a mix of traditional and contemporary tunes, while the Fancy Brigades present intricately choreographed theatrical productions.

Philadelphia’s Favorite Mummer

Identifying a single favorite Mummer is a challenging task, as preferences vary widely among Philadelphians. However, one consistently popular group is the Fralinger String Band. Known for their innovative performances and intricate costumes, Fralinger has won numerous first prizes in the String Band Division and has a passionate following.

In 2017, Jason Kelce, the beloved center for the Philadelphia Eagles, became an instant icon when he dressed as a Mummer for the team’s Super Bowl victory parade. Embracing the city’s unique cultural tradition, Kelce donned a flamboyant Mummers costume, complete with colorful sequins and feathers, capturing the heart and spirit of Philadelphia. His outfit wasn’t just a nod to the local tradition; it was a full embrace of the city’s identity and an expression of the joy and unity felt by Eagles fans after their historic win. Kelce’s spirited attire and impassioned speech on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art resonated deeply with fans, symbolizing the grit, resilience, and brotherhood that characterized the Eagles’ road to victory and the city’s enduring love for its team and traditions.

Who Are The Mummers FAQ

What is the history of the Mummers in Philadelphia?

The Mummers tradition in Philadelphia dates back to the 17th century, with influences from European settlers. The organized parade began in 1901 and has since become a cherished New Year’s Day tradition.

How can I participate in the Mummers Parade?

To participate, you can join a Mummer brigade. This usually involves becoming a member of a club and participating in the year-long preparation for the parade.

Where does the Mummers Parade take place?

The parade traditionally marches down Broad Street in Philadelphia, starting in South Philadelphia and ending at City Hall.

Can anyone become a Mummer?

Yes, while many Mummers come from families with a long history in the parade, new participants are always welcome. It’s a community tradition that thrives on new energy and creativity.

How does the Mummers Parade impact Philadelphia?

The parade is a significant cultural event for the city, drawing thousands of spectators and contributing to the local economy. It’s a source of pride and celebration for many Philadelphians.

Now that you know Who Are The Mummers, understand that The Mummers are more than just performers; they are custodians of a unique tradition that encapsulates the spirit of Philadelphia. Through their elaborate costumes, lively music, and engaging performances, they bring joy and community spirit to the city’s streets every New Year’s Day. As a focal point of local culture and pride, they are an essential part of the city’s identity, much like the passionate sports fans celebrated by Together, they weave the vibrant fabric of Philadelphia’s cultural heritage.

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