New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013
The Parade begins at 10 a.m.
Parade marches north up Broad Street to JFK Boulevard.
If you’ve never seen a Mummers Parade on Jan. 1, you have no idea what you’re missing.
The word ‘Mummers’ comes from the German word for “mask”. Mummers parade is a conglomeration of spirited Celtic and Scandinavian New Year’s traditions.
In the 1600s, Swedish settlers to Philadelphia’s outskirts honored Christmas by beseeching their neighbors for dessert and liquor by dressing up, chanting and shooting firearms. The party eventually migrated to New Year’s Day and evolved into a series of neighborhood parades; then, as immigrants moved to the area from Ireland and Italy, each group added their own cultural flair to the local customs.
In 1901, the tradition began in earnest with the first recognized and judged Mummers Parade.
Mummers are men and women of all ages who belong to more than 40 organized clubs that make up the parade participants. The clubs, split into five divisions—Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades—function mainly to stage their playful performances on New Year’s Day.
The 2013 Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade and Fancy Brigade Finale will presented by SugarHouse Casino and will step out onto South Broad Street at 10 a.m. By the time it’s all over – around 7 p.m. – over 10,000 amateur (but hardly amateurish) musicians and entertainers will have made the 3-mile journey to City Hall, bedecked in the most extravagant costumes this side of Carnival.
An unforgettably wild ritual, the parade and subsequent performances are all family-friendly and fun for everyone.
Spectators are encouraged to leave their cars behind and take public transportation into the city. Those who drive should park in a garage.
One of the best places to view the spectacle is from the judging stands near City Hall, but tickets must be reserved in advance. For sidewalk seating, arrive early and set up near a performance location, where marching String Bands perform. These spots are at the intersections of Broad Street and the following streets: Sansom Street (Union League), Pine Street, Washington Avenue and Shunk Street.