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Simply, the Philadelphia Mummers are costumed entertainers welcoming in the New Year. The parade participants take their name from Momus, the Greek god of ridicule. But the tradition developed from a blending of cultures. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt.
Mummers would lead the burial procession of the Pharaohs in extravagant costumes, playing finger cymbals, Essay history mummers philadelphia and other rhythm instruments. Tracing back through the mazes of history that led to England, Wale, Scotland, Germany, ancient France, and pagan Rome and Greece, we find mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions.
Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. As early as BC, Roman laborers observed the feast of the Saturnalia in honor of their god, Saturn, and the reaping of the harvest.
They made calls on friends, they exchanged gifts and it was customary for some of the gifts to bear greetings for a Happy New Year. Unrestrained merry-making marked the pagan Saturnalia and Carnival, the ancient Roman festival of Saturn that began on December 17th.
Slaves sported robes from their masters, and the patricians wearing fantastic costumes, roamed the streets with their slaves. Age and rank were forgotten for the fiesta and all persons were free for the day.
There was a musical background for the capers of the multitude with songs and ballads befitting the joyous occasion. Another early custom was the Florentine Carnival usually held in the beginning of Lent — a day set aside by monks of the Middle Ages for the lords of misrule and the abbots of unreason.
At this time, England and Germany celebrated their Christmas Mosque, resulting in riotous indulgence. This took the form of a dramatic entertainment popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, and following usually an allegorical theme, which embodied pageantry, music and dancing. The use of masks and different costumes were incorporated from the Greek celebrations of King Momus, the Italian feast of Saturnalia, and the British Mummery Play.
The Philadelphia Tradition The tradition of Philadelphia Mummery started in the late 17th century as a continuation of the Old World customs of ushering in the New Year.
Masqueraders paraded the through the streets of Philadelphia.
Most people carried firearms for protection in those early days of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it did not take long before pistols and muskets joined with bells and noisemakers to create the sound of a New Year.
Groups would travel from house to house, sing songs, and perform dances — all to be rewarded with food and drink. The party was truly a pageant that recreated a tournament of the Middle Ages, including decorated barges, heralds and trumpeters, a jousting field and the Knights of the Blended Rose.Essay history mummers philadelphia dissertation abstract journal university of phoenix nz army essayonsJango fett and boba fett comparison essay.
Philadelphia, which had a sizable Swedish population, was the center of America’s mummers’ celebrations.
In , Philadelphia became the capital of the United States, and President George Washington initiated a tradition of receiving “calls” from mummers at his mansion. The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia (all photos by the author unless otherwise noted) PHILADELPHIA — has not been a good year for the annual New Year’s Day Mummers Parade.
The Philadelphia Mummers of today total over approximately 15, marchers on New Year’s Day. There are four distinct divisions of the parade: Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band.
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