Experience the iconic New Year’s Day parade any day of the year
Thousands of Philadelphians spend the whole year practicing dance and band routines and constructing extravagant feather and sequin-adorned costumes for one day of glory: The Mummers Parade, held on New Year’s Day. If you miss it, you can still experience this singular tradition at the Mummers Museum, which preserves the uniforms, songs and memorabilia of the past and explains the customs of the Mummers clubs.
The costumes steal the show: the playful, sometimes goofy rag-tags of the Comics, the gaudy sequin-festooned uniforms of the String Bands, and the often-massive feathered constructions of the Brigades and Fancy Division. You can push buttons to compose your own Mummers medley and learn the Mummers Strut; filmed highlights of past parades are shown on a large screen.
One of the many small museums left as a legacy of the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, the Mummers Museum celebrates a centuries-old Philadelphia tradition, which can be traced back to English settlers who brought to the Colonies their Christmastime custom of dressing in costume and performing pantomimes. The Mummers Parade started in South Philadelphia on New Year’s Day 1901 and has grown into an elaborate 10,000-person, all-day affair.
Open Tue – Sun
Tuesday evening string band concerts, held from May to September at 8 p.m., introduce novices to the art and sound of mummery.
Great Kids’ stuff
Kids get to bop on a glockenspiel, one of the essential instruments in a string band, play “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers” and learn to strut like a native mummer.