Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Mummers Parade, Philadelphia, 1948

My father, Edwin Wittig, took these photographs with his Kodak Brownie on New Years Day, sixty seven years ago, when he was twenty one years old.  The Mummers Parade is the oldest surviving folk festival in the United States and the tradition it honors dates back to the Middle Ages in England, to the Mummers Plays, which were amateur theatricals produced by worker or trade associations.  They are said to have involved elaborate disguise and were centered around the (comic) theme of resurrection.  However, the oldest surviving Mummers Plays only date back to the eighteenth century.  As for the folk festival that took root in Philadelphia, it appears to have developed around that same time, in the early eighteenth century, from the performance of these Mummers Plays and the custom of working class youths demanding free drinks and running riot in the days following Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment