As most of you know by now, city officials announced in July 2020 that the Philadelphia Mummers Parade would not be held in Philadelphia on New Years Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Jim Kenney announced that all large public events through February 28, 2021 would be canceled due to the public health crisis.
The 120-year-old Mummers Parade has only been cancelled twice (1919 and 1934). The first cancellation happened in 1919 as a result of the aftermath of World War I and the second cancellation occurred in 1934 due to the effects of the Great Depression and a lack of prize money.
Even though the Mummers Parade is canceled, PHL17 said it plans to bring Mummers content to viewers on New Year’s Day 2021. On January 1, 2021 starting at 9am PHL17 will broadcast and stream 13 hours of the best mummers footage from the last 10 years in what they are calling the Mummers Parade of the Decade.
Philly Magazine wrote an article earlier this year suggesting that some Mummers are secretly planning a parade on New Years Day in an unofficial capacity. The thought is that the Mummers who will appear on January 1, 2021 are likely stay close to their clubhouse on New Year’s Day. There have been rumors that some Mummers will take to Broad Street as they traditionally do every year. If some Mummers do go rogue, it would be a return to roots of sorts. Through the 19th century, large groups of disguised working-class young men roamed the streets on New Year’s Day, organizing “riotous” processions, firing weapons into the air, and demanding free drinks in taverns, and generally challenging middle and upper-class notions of order and decorum.
The end of 2020 is something we should all be celebrating, so it’s going to be weird without an official Mummers Parade on January 1. Regardless of what happens, I’m looking forward to the Mummers Parade officially resuming in 2022.