Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Every year on New Year's Day, we Philadelphians get a real treat in the form of the eight-hour-long Mummer's Parade. There's no easy way to describe this satin Saturnalia, this feathered frolic, except to say that many of the thousands of people who participate in it devote their entire lives and fortunes to it. I didn't check YouTube, but if you've never seen a Philadelphia Mummer's Parade, I'm sure there are snippets of it here and there.
I'm a Mummer junkie. Forget doing anything else on New Year's Day. I sit in my lounge chair and watch the parade until the last feathered fanatic struts off in search of his celebratory beer.
And OMBG, this year's parade will have me on the edge of my seat! .... Well, not really. I usually loll like a contented cat. Let's just say I've already picked some favorites in the string band competition.
The Philadelphia Daily News printed synopses of each string band's theme in today's newspaper. No one consulted me, mind you, before the themes were chosen -- but I am intrigued.
Here's the summary for the Woodland String Band (finished in 8th place last year):
"Woodland takes you to a land of wizardry, mysticism, sorcery, witchcraft, and enchantment, led by the Grand Wizard, AL A. KAZAM. Harry Potter serves as the guide as Mummers fans watch and listen to familiar, fantastic sights and sounds played by musical wizards, witches, sorcerers, and druids."
Granted, this performance is likely to reek of stereotype in every conceivable way, but I must say I am interested to see a Philadelphia Mummer take on druids.
Needless to say, Woodland was Anne's early favorite until she read on.
Here's the summary for the South Philadelphia String Band (finished in 3rd place last year):
"Embark on a majestic journey of Native America, where great warriors rule. Experience a celebratory powwow, glide along a mystical canoe down the Shenandoah, witness the majesty of the sacred white-buffalo skull, feel the force of a thundering herd stampeding through the village, and be dazzled by the arrival of the mighty and wrathful Thunderbird."
The capitalization is theirs, not mine.
Okay, by now it should be clear to you that the Philadelphia Mummers aren't exactly subtle or politically correct. But who could resist the prospect of a parade that will include both Druids and a Thunderbird?
The forecast calls for rain. I wonder how that will affect the Thunderbird. It might suspend its wrath and go curl up in a pine tree with its fellow Thunderbirds.
Go ahead and spend your New Year's Day making fancy dinners and resolutions. As for me and my house, we will watch the Mummers!