New Year's Day is a time for celebrating the upcoming year and the prospects ahead, and Philadelphia goes all out with the highly anticipated Mummers Parade. Celebrated every January 1, the event consists of much more than just an exciting procession - live performances, food and drink vendors, family-friendly games and other features come together to create a carnival-like atmosphere. Spend New Year's Eve in the City of Brotherly Love and then wake the next morning for a day full of fun and festivities. Book your Philadelphia car rental in advance and start searching hotels in the area for your Mummers Parade getaway, but first learn a little more about this exciting event:
History of Mummers Parade
Mummers Parade is a beloved annual tradition as well as one of the country's longest running celebrations. It became an official Philadelphia event in 1900, but its unofficial history dates back to the late 1600s. European settlers introduced the Old World tradition to the U.S. when they arrived - a way to ring in the new year. It stemmed from the custom of visiting friends the day after Christmas, a practice that was extended to last nearly a week through New Year's Day. Eventually, it grew into a day of parades, masquerades and street parties, though it was a largely unorganized celebration. By the end of the 19th century, it was a city-wide, annual event, and the City of Philadelphia adopted it as an official holiday on January 1, 1901.
Highlights of the day
What was once a small procession through this New England town soon prospered, and today, the Mummers Parade features more than 10,000 men and women marching through the downtown streets and hundreds of thousands of spectators and party-goers on the sidelines. The Parade begins at 10 a.m. and the crowds can grow very quickly, so it's advised to show up early to find a parking spot for your Pennsylvania car rental. Arriving ahead of time is also important for finding a clear view of the parade - some of the best spots for watching are along Broad Street, at the Kimmel Center and at the Mummers Grandstand at City Hall.
The New Year's Day parade, which lasts eight hours, showcases marchers adorned in extravagant attire. The procession is divided into four different divisions: The Fancy division features ornate costumes, props and big colorful floats, while the Fancy Brigade, also dresses in lavish ensembles, put on complex and entertaining drills and dances. The Comic section's presentation is a criticism of social and political subjects, whereas the String Band division entertains with banjos, accordions, violin, banjos and other instruments (brass instruments are not allowed). The climax of the procession takes place at City Hall and convention center, where judging takes place. In addition to the parade, the city's downtown takes on a carnival setting. with family-friendly games, rides and plenty of street food.