The annual New Year’s Day Mummers parade is just days away, but I just learned some new (and super cool) facts about the Mummers.

Something I didn't know about the mummers is that the groups compete with one another for local bragging rights and they are split into different divisions. They are:

The Comics and Wench Brigades will try and make you laugh with their satirical humor.

The Fancies are just like their name implies… fancy. They have very elegant and impressive costumes.

The String Bands bring their instruments to the parade. You'll see them playing banjos, saxophones, drums, and other reed and string instruments live.

The Fancy Brigades know how to put on a show with their amazing choreography.

The mummers are part of Philadelphia culture since the parade has been being held for over a hundred years.

The roots of this go back to ancient Rome when laborers used to march in masks while exchanging gifts. In the 1600s, Swedish settlers in the Philadelphia area used to celebrate Christmas by dressing up and going around town to their neighbors asking for sweets and liquor.

Annual Mummers Parade In Philadelphia
William Thomas Cain, Getty Images

The parade later became a New Year's Day tradition when immigrants from Ireland and Italy came to Philly and added their own traditions to the local customs. And in 1901, the first recognized and judged Mummers Parade took place. Also if you were curious the term “Mummer” is German and means “to costume or masquerade.”

If you want a taste of what to expect at the parade you can see the video below from 2018. Also, you get more info about the parade, tickets, and learn more about mummer history here.

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