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Mummer Memories, Philly ’07 (with pics)

Yesterday’s Mummer’s Parade in Philly was the best time I have had in I can’t remember how long.  For those of you who don’t know, Mummer’s Day is a venerable Philly tradition, dating back to 1901.  It’s a lot like Mardi Gras or Carnivale, only instead of Creoles and Latins, it’s Irish, Italian and Polish Americans dressed up in semi-drag, parading around on floats and in formation.  Imagine if you will a “bizarro world Paris is Burning!!!” (for a little Mummer’s 101, click here.)

In the top pic, I am standing with one of the youngest Mummers, brandishing an Irish flag.  I love that Mummer’s Day is a chance for Irish American’s like myself to celebrate our shared culture and lineage.

And speaking of Irish heratige, the Guiness was  indeedflowing liberally.  Nothing is funner that watching five or six guys dressed in silly satin dresses relieveing their bladders against a wall in an ally, shoulder to shoulder.  Did I mention that they were wearing dresses?

Mummer’s Day is usually January 1st, but yesterday was the rain delay day.  And my oh my what a day it was.  Usually, it’s too cold to stay all day at the parade, but yesterday was a creepily balmy 75 degrees in Philadelphia.

In the second pic, you can see more of the merrimaking.  I had stepped into a (gay) bar to pee and instead of the ususal pre-happy hour alcoholic old troll crowd, I found the bar to be filled with cute young straight guys hanging out and carrying on.  (Note again the presence of the Irish flag.)  For one day at least, the kinship of our heratige trumps the gay-straight thing.  It’s a beautiful thing.

The Mummers are just another feature that make the cultural fabric of Philadelphia so very colorful.  And yesterday it was a thrill and privledge to share in the joy and hope that come around each new year.

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jay lassiter

jay lassiter