I first heard about the Mummers Day Parade from the leasing consultant who helped me with my apartment in Philly. She highly recommended it, especially since my studio was located directly on the parade route. It's on January 1st as a celebration of the New Year. It's quite a celebration at that! The parade down the main North/ South thoroughfare called Broad Street actually lasts all day! It ends with a judged performance.
Right before my chance to see it in person, a friend told me it was like a blue collar Republican Mardi Gras. Never having seen that in New Orleans, I imagine so. It was very elaborate. I've only seen it once while living there. I invited my parents up to check it out because my mom loves herself a parade. We had a good time. As a break in order to warm up, we brought Italian pizza and subs takeout back to my place. It's very cold to watch so I think I'll only go again if I have a warm place to retreat to every once in awhile, like a friend's place, a hotel room or my own apartment (I can dream). I loved this tradition.
There are four types of Mummers: Comics, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades. They dress up in different ways and some play musical instruments. The Comics tend to dress up in a way and/or have a float that makes a social or political comment. They have a lot of time to prepare for this event in clubhouses located in South Philly. It has a long history which you can read more about on the parade's wikipedia page. Here is also one of the official sites: Philly Mummers.com.
I will not be attending this year as the 1st falls on a Saturday and I still work retail, but I hope to go see it again!