New Year’s Day Mummer’s Parade
New Year’s Day has always been marked by special celebrations and traditions. One of the most ancient ways of welcoming in the New Year was the Mummer’s Dance.
Mummers on Parade
Here in this picture a group of costumed Mummers parade down a street of Philadelphia on New Year’s Day, 1909. Throngs of people including many children have lined the streets to watch the mummers.
Traditional mummery (also called janneying) was a British in which people would dress in masks and disguises and visit the homes of neighbors incognito. They would be welcomed by the householders and there perform tricks, pantomimes, and songs. The hosts would attempt to guess the identity of their guests. Mummer’s costumes were often very elaborate, and sometimes scary looking.
Despite roots that may have gone back to Druid times, the practice nearly died out after 1861 when a law was passed making it illegal to wear a disguise in public, after a man was robbed and killed by assailants dressed as mummers. However vestiges of this practice survived in the England, Ireland, and parts of the United States and Canada.
Here are some close ups of the masks worn by these parading mummers.
The mummer in the center of the picture above appears to be carrying two fake mummers attached to a beam supported by his shoulders.
Another Closeup of Mummers
Above is a closeup of the mummers following the lead mummer with his scarecrow mummers hung over his shoulders. Note their elaborate head dresses.
Watching the Mummer’s Parade
Here is a moment in time from New Year’s Day 1909, an America that no longer exists. Note the Sunday Best clothes worn by the girls as they attentively watch the spectacle in front of them.
Well Dressed Mouse Hunters Standing Next to their Catch
Australia is known for many things, including creepy crawly creatures that will kill you, and out of control wildlife breeding beyond its natural limits because of a lack of natural predators. From rampant rabbit hordes to oppression from swarms of owls, Australia has had its share of critters running wild.
One of the worst of these plagues was a gigantic mice infestation that overran parts of Australia in 1913. Millions of these disgusting rodents swarmed the countryside like some sort of biblical plague, devouring crops, invading homes, and leaving behind them scenes of devastation. Most of us today, especially if we live in a clean first world home, get annoyed or in some cases scared if we see evidence of one or two mice. Usually the little fellows are shy of humans and we become aware of their existence only when we see their droppings or bite marks in boxes and other odds and ends on our closets.
But when their population reaches into the millions, they do not hide, and it is humans who must either run or fight, lest they become hunted.
Pictured here are some brave defenders of humanity who took a stand against the rodent hordes.
There must be hundreds of thousands of these mice. Note the sheers in the front of the picture, at the center of this pile of dead rodents. The sheers were used to cut off the tails from the mice so that they could be counted and turned in for a government sponsored bounty. These mice hunters were often paid in ammunition in exchange for bringing in the mouse tails.
Not really rats, but equally disgusting: a revolting pile of dead mice
The hordes of disgusting mice were beaten back. This time the humans won. But they will be back.