Pirates Mummers Day Parade | Philadelphia, PA 2013 (Stephen Dyer) Waiting Mummers Day Parade | Philadelphia, PA 2013 (Stephen Dyer) National Anthem During Mummers Day Parade | Philadelphia, PA 2013 (Stephen Dyer) Cleaning Up Mummers Day Parade | Philadelphia, PA 2013 (Stephen Dyer)

MUMMER’S DAY PARADE

Among traditional holiday observances is the mummers’ parade on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia. This pageant resembles in spirit and form the old English Christmas season festivities, when a Lord of Misrule was chosen, and elaborately costumed revelers danced and paraded. But its immediate ancestor is the old German tradition of ‘bell-snickeling.’ As early as 1800 scattered groups of mummers from South Philadelphia paraded the streets and rang bells to receive the award of cakes and candies if their identity was not guessed. The first formal parade was held on January 1, 1901, to celebrate the turn of the century; it was so enthusiastically received that it has since been held annually.

Pennsylvania, A Guide to the Keystone State (WPA, 1940)

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Philadelphia-based photographer Stephen Dyer is our Guide to Pennsylvania. Follow his great photos of the Keystone State and other places on Tumblr at thebrokentooth.tumblr.com.