Going to the Mummers Parade on New Years Day has been a Philadelphia tradition. Even though it always seemed to be the coldest day of the year, it was a must (at least once)..
photo from the Mummers Museum archive
The earliest settlers to the Philadelphia area, the Swede's brought this idea of welcoming in the New Year with parades, masquerades and noise makers with them and as time went on, the celebration grew. Today the Mummers spend all year preparing for this big day. Making their own costumes, practicing their banjo type music and learning the latest Mummer's strut.
I took my children to their first parade when Amanda was about 18 months old. We bought all of the cousins glow-in-the-dark necklaces so we could pick them out in the crowd of ruckus revelers. I remember driving my caravan home after the parade and one of my little nieces saying "Aunt Betsy, Amanda's mouth is glowing". Do I remember anything about the parade? No, all I remember is rushing home to call the Poison Bureau.
Last year, I took two of my granddaughters to a parade in New Jersey where they were able to see that Philadelphia tradition of Mummers doing their struts. Just thinking about that party atmosphere makes me want to get up and dance!