Tuesday, November 22, 2011

King of Prussia Farmer's Market, behind the Police Station

The last Farmer's Market of the year so I joined Cindy for her weekend there.  It was disappointing sales wise, she said she did much better last year.  But I think last year there was an upswing in consumer confidence and this year it's dead.  People realizing we're in for the long haul of recession and no money.

Still fun to be together, chat and eat a very tasty breakfast sandwich of bagel, sausage, cheese and egg, yummy.

One of the forms of entertainment was a little group of older men who obviously take part in the New Year's Celebration of the Mummers in Philadelphia.  Of all the New Year's Celebrations this has to be the most different, odd to many and quite different from the usual floats etc at New Years.  As you can see from the men playing their instruments and the way they are dressed.  The bands used to consist entirely of men, but now they do allow woman, although they're still very much a minority within the marching bands.

So you might wonder were do they originate from?

The Babylonian year started about the vernal equinox—in the month of March. The celebration lasted 11 days and was centered around the worship of Marduk, the city god of Babylon. The vestiges of the New Year festival of Babylon, such as mummers’ plays and fertility rites, are still observed during New Year’s celebrations around the world. The mummers’ parade in the city of Philadelphia (U.S.A.) on New Year’s Day and the fertility festival held in Akita City (Japan) on the 17th of January are but two examples of such relics.

In the late 1700's. When the Swedes came to Tinicum, just outside of Philadelphia, they brought there custom of visiting friends on "Second Day Christmas", December 26. Later they extended their period of celebration to include New Year's day, and welcomed the new year with masquerades and parades of noisy revelers. The traditions of other nationalities were also present. The use of masks and different costumes were carried over from the Greek celebrations of King Momus, the Italian-feast of saturnalia, and the British Mummery Play.

Most people carried firearms for protection in those early days of the commonwealth, and it didn't take long before pistols and muskets joined with bells and noisemakers to create the sound of a new year. Those who shot in the new year became New Year's Shooters and Mummers Association.
Groups would travel from house to house, sing songs, and perform dances-all to be rewarded with food and drink. The practice became so widespread and strong that by 1808 it was considered a problem by the leaders of early Philadelphia high society. An act was passed declaring that "masquerades, masquerade balls, and masked processions were public nuisances" with threats of fine and imprisonment. While the celebrations were quieted, they were not stopped, and the law was abolished in the 1850's with no reports of convictions.
In the 1870's the nation was recuperating from a Civil War and what had been an uncoordinated group of neighborhood celebrations turned into an area wide parade with two main groups of participants: Fancy Dress clubs and Comic Clubs. Early forms of the parade were present in 1888. 

Sponsorship by the City of Philadelphia began with the turn of the century in 1901, and was followed by the entrance of the String Bands in 1902. It was not until the 1970's that another group emerged-the Fancy Brigades broke as a separate unit from the Fancy Clubs. Today the parade consists of four divisions: the Comics, the Fancies, the String Bands, and The Fancy Brigades.

I just wanted to share a view of the Farmer's Market.  The weather was lovely and November has turned out on the whole to be a nicer month than October.  We have had a very late Indian Summer.

Take care,

P.S.  And a beautiful dog, can't remember what breed, but super thick coat and a sweet disposition.

1 comment:

  1. Your history resume was very interesting. November here has been the mildest and driest since records began. We have farmers' markets here but I generally find they are too expensive for general shopping - just for a treat!


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