We eventually made our way back to the cross-country lodge where a few dozen skis sat outside waiting for their owners to finish their muesli before padding back outside for a few more laps. We ran into our teacher, sipping a cup of tea.
“God, this is the most crowded I’ve ever seen it here,” she said.
We loved it.
|Can you pick me out of the crowd?|
The Mummers parade.
What’s a Mummer? There’s quite the history (read about it here if you wish) as to how they came to their current state.
I came to Philadelphia in 1996 for college and basically never left. Here I sit, 14 years later, and I still can’t quite figure out what a Mummer is. On parade day, first the clubs of drunk people walk by. And then the string bands come, each with a different theme and the groups are judged at different points along the parade route.
|The part of the parade where Mummers walk down|
the street smoking, drinking and being merry.
I’ve been to the parade about 4 times in my 14 years here. I never know what to make of it and sometimes want to run away from the whole thing... some of the Mummers groups are occasoinally a bit, well, stuck in 1952. Some of the groups don’t allow women (seriously) and some of them sometimes have themes that make me cringe.
In college a friend and I wrote a column for the school paper. New to Philadelphia, we questioned the Mummer tradition. Hate mail poured in (well, as much as mail can pour into the paper of a college with 2,200 students). Philadelphia loves its sports teams (try being a Redskins fan in this town … another reason I should wear a helmet at all times), Philadelphia loves its cheesesteaks and Philadelphia loves it some Mummers.
But, I will admit, I do think the whole thing is intriguing and mostly entertaining. I find myself asking a good friend who is a Mummer months before New Year’s Day what his group’s theme is and how rehearsals are going. Impressive people-watching. Impressive spectacle.
|I stood atop of a giant planter. Bill looked short.|
|I looked scared.|
|Except when I didn't.|
|Is this scary to anyone else?|
|Larry, our Mummer friend.|