Monday, January 08, 2007

A few Mummer Photos from Saturday

The Mummers Parade traditionally takes place in Philadelphia on New Year's Day — often in bone-chilling temperatures. Record weather, record crowds and the Mummers. The parade takes place along a 3 mile stretch of Broad Street leading up to City Hall and Market Street where the divisions perform in front of the judges.
The Fancy Clubs are an incredible explosion of a need for display, for pomp and ceremony. Awesomely glorious, their silks and colors easily outshine the most lavish trappings of royalty.Imaginative presentations are the hallmark of the Fancy Brigades. A theme - centered around an elaborately decorated Captain’s float - is carried out by 35 or more marchers in spectacular costumes as they move in undulating formations. It was so warm that some people wore shorts, including me. This crew is part of the Comic division which are made up of people who usually mock politicians, society and pop culture. Thier theme was the grim reaper, and since they seemed to have been drinking all night they looked the part of death warmed over. Forerunners of Philadelphia’s Mummers may be glimpsed in the Roman Festival of Saturnalia, circa 400 B.C., when Latin laborers marched in masks through a day of satire and gift exchange; and in the Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the New Year. Because of this pagan ritual, there's a good chance you won't find any Jehovah Witnesses viewing the parade.
The individual Comic judging. Katie and Simon were adventurous enough to come down from NYC and see what all the fuss was about. They were bewildered about the 8 hr parade, but enjoyed the music and costumes. Old-line Mummers stress the obvious: they do not parade for the prizes. Even when they win, the prize money does not even approach the cost. For example, it costs over $150,000 to suit up a String Band. Generally, funds are raised through parties, paid performances, recordings and club dues. The String Bands are the most popular group of Mummers. Unfortunately because of the rain delay the String Bands did not go on until after dark when you can't enjoy their costumes along the parade route as much as in front of the very crowded judging area. Some of the 500,000 fans. During the long drawn out parade we made a side trip to the Italian Market area (made famous by Rocky) to grab a bite to eat. Here Mike is enjoying his Geno's cheese steak, while Katie and Simon are wondering where if they make cheese tofu steaks? Sadly the tempertures have been in the 60s all week, and on Mummer day it was 73 and the Cherry Trees are blossuming in the City.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God your photos are so good. Each time I come here I am amazed by your talent. I miss you in NY!

1/09/2007 1:00 AM  

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