Come and join the fun at the first ever String Band Parade Down Haddon Ave! This is a great opportunity to experience the amazing music and culture of the Philadelphia Mummers. You’ll see 15 different string bands from the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association, each with their own style and flair. The parade is brought to you by the Camden County Board of Commissioners, who invite you and your family to see the Mummers in action and enjoy a festive day out!
The String Band Mummers Parade
The Camden County Board of Commissioners, Haddonfield and Haddon Township welcome the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association to the first annual String Band Parade Down Haddon Ave. Join us for a great day of string bands and music, food and games and other great surprises!
Who are the Mummers?
Mummers are performers who dress up in costumes and masks and act out folk plays or songs in public, usually during festivals or holidays. This is a form of folk art that expresses creativity, humor, and community spirit. Mummery is a source of entertainment and joy for both the performers and the audiences! The word “Mummer” has a fascinating history! It comes from “Momus”, the Greek god of satire and mockery. He was known for always making fun of the other gods and goddesses. The word also has roots in an old English word “mommer”, which means to mime, mask and frolic. It isn’t hard to see how they both intertwine.
Mummery has not always been embraced throughout Philadelphian history. In the 1800s, masquerading was even banned for SEVERAL DECADES, but Mummers kept on celebrating! Thankfully, there are no known arrests for those violating the ordinance. Although Mummers have strong Irish, German, Italian, Polish, and Roman Catholic connections, Mummers today come from all walks of life.
One of the most famous mummer traditions is the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. The colorful and lively parade attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators. Every year, the Mummers dazzle the crowds with their vibrant costumes and music. This amazing festival has been happening since 1901, and is one of the oldest and most cherished traditions in America!
Egypt, Europe and Asia
Mummers have a rich and diverse history that reflects the cultures and customs of different regions, especially in Europe and Asia, where they are associated with ancient rituals and traditions. Mummers’ plays typically involve themes of death and resurrection, good and evil, or social satire and they are always colofrul. The tradition developed from a blending of many cultures. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt.
Canada & Mummering
Mummers are popular in Canada. They visit homes in their communities during the twelve days of Christmas, in disguise. They sing, dance and joke with the hosts, who try to guess their identities before they move on to the next house. In Newfoundland, they call “mummering” “jannying.” Wherever you are, Mumming strengthens social bonds!
The Costumes Explained:
Comics satirize issues, institutions and people.
Wench Brigades are the traditional comics in wench dresses.
The Wench Brigades are the hilarious performers who dress up as wenches and poke fun at various issues, institutions and people. They use props, signs and skits to satirize current events, politics and celebrities. They are the traditional comics of the parade and they always make everyone laugh with their witty humor.
Fancies impress with glamorous outfits.
They are known for frame suits and back pieces.
String Bands gleefully play instruments.
They are the sound of the parade.
The String Bands are the joyful performers who play instruments and sing songs. They use instruments like banjos, saxophones and accordions to create lively music that blends different genres such as jazz, pop and folk. They also use props, costumes and choreography to enhance their musical themes. They get everyone moving and grooving with their catchy tunes.
Fancy Brigades produce high energy, choreographed theatrical extravaganzas.
The Fancy Brigades use elaborate sets, lighting and special effects to create stunning shows that tell stories or showcase concepts. They also use costumes, props and music to complement their performances. They are the showstoppers of the parade.