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 Post subject: The Mummer's Parade
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 7:42 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 11327
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I am originally from Philadelphia, so I grew up on the tradition of the New Year's Day Mummer's parade. This is a special year for this marvelous parade - it is 100 years old!!<P>This is the oldest and the longest parade in the world, so we were told. It usually lasts from early morning until well after dark - often 12 hours long. It is quite a formal organization that registers each group, assigns a place to, and there are many different categories and prizes. The prizes are trophies (not money) and very much esteemed. As many as 12,000 marchers are involved. <P>The different groups are organized by neighborhoods, clubs, civic organizations, etc. They begin to plan, sew costumes, choreograph and rehearse an entire year in advance of the parade. There is a very interesting Mummer's Parade Museum in the city. The parade in the Italian neighborhoods.<P>It is the custom on New Year's Day for people to stand (it usually turns out to be one of the coldest days of the year - but that's part of it's "charm") on the sidewalks, sipping hot chocolate, and eating warm thick German pretzels with hot mustard as they watch the parade go by. For lunch one has to have either a hoagie (a Philly version of a submarine, poor boy, etc.) or a Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich. You don't count cholesterol on this day. <P>People line the streets downtown on Broad St. by the hundreds of thousands - and also watch on TV. <P>What this has to do with dance is - these non-professional groups really do quite elaborate and fairly complex dance numbers. I am at a loss to relate it to any existing dance genre that I know - it is called "The Strut". Though each group choses their own music (live musicians play with each group) the overall theme song of the Parade is "Those Golden Slippers". <P>The costumes are truly among the most elaborate, colorful, flamboyant and complex you will see anywhere. The groups are judged on production values of dance, costume, music and coordination. <P>While dancing and playing musical instuments they are also marching for a couple of miles down the city's center. <P>It is really quite a fantastic spectacle, and yet is hardly heard of outside of the city - but that is very typical of Philadelphia.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Philadelhpia's Mummer's Day Parade</A><P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited December 28, 2000).]

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