All across the country, people take New Year's Day to recover from partying the night before and to mentally prepare for the upcoming year. But Philadelphia takes the occasion to the next level, hosting an exciting bash and parade with the beloved Mummers Parade. Held every January 1 starting at 10 a.m., the procession is a lively congregation of marchers, dancers, street performers and musicians who put on a show for some hundreds of thousands of spectators. But there's much more to this event than just a parade. Book your Pennsylvania car rental for January 1 and learn more about the festivities to prepare for the highly anticipated event.
Mummers Parade's deep roots
The much-admired tradition of Mummers Day officially began at the start of the 20th century, but it's been around far longer than that. The event started in the late 1600s - making it one of the longest-running celebrations in the country - as an unofficial celebration that evolved from a unique custom brought here from the Old World when Europeans first settled in Pennsylvania. They would use the day after Christmas to visit the friends and distant family members that they could not see on Christmas Day. Eventually, this day extended to include a week (through January 1) of these visits and then grew to include parties and community celebrations. With time, the first day of the year became a day of street parades and parties. By 1901, the City of Philadelphia declared it an official city holiday.
Activities and attractions of the Mummers Parade
Those who take part in the festivities of Mummers Parade often stay in Philadelphia over the entire holiday, ringing in the new year with the City of Brotherly Love (be sure to leave your Mummers Parade car rental at the hotel if you plan on drinking) and waking the next morning for a day of fun. It takes place throughout the downtown area, starting in South Philly and weaving its way through the streets before ending eight hours later at the City Hall and convention center, where judges choose the best costumes and performances. When you arrive at the parade grounds, park your Philadelphia car rental and head to one of the best viewing spots. Broad Street, the Kimmel Center and the Mummers Grandstand are known to have some of the best views of the procession.
More than 10,000 marchers make up the parade, which is separated into four divisions. The Fancy section showcases extravagant costumes, vibrant floats and prop performers, whereas the Comic division lets marchers give presentations and present on displays that critique national politics and social issues. There's also a String Band section that plays accordions, violins, banjos and more (brass instruments are banned), and a Fancy Brigade division puts on dances and drills while donning elaborate costumes. In addition to the parade are live musical performances, carnival games and rides and plenty of food and drink in which to indulge.