"I will pay this debt with interest.”

Mummings' and 'disguisings' - collective names for many forms of processions, shows, and other entertainments, such as, among the upper classes, that precursor of the Elizabethan Mask in which a group of persons in disguise, invited or uninvited, attended a formal dancing party.

"The Mechanical man. George German, of the Lobster Club, was the human robot in the annual Mummers’ Parade today. He demonstrated the mechanical man of the future."

1936, Jan. 1.

From the George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photograph collection:

The Mari Lwyd (Y Fari Lwyd) is an extremely old tradition within wales, dating back to at least the middle ages. Derived from worship of pre-christain gods, the horse is representative of the goddess Rhiannon. It is home version of the Saxon wassailing, to bring luck and no deaths within the year.

The idea is that, knocking on each door, the Mari and the home owner would recite poetry of eachother called a pwnco. The horse would try to win and if so would be allowed in the house and be given food. If the homeowner won, the horse would give thanks, luck and be on it’s way.

The mari lwyd consits of a mare’s skull, carved and decorated along with the eye sockets filled. Sometimes lights and sweet smelling herbs are placed inside to make it seem less frightening to the children. The man or women holding it is covered in a white cloth with ribbon or coloured cloth handing for the wind to pick up.

Will ye let the mummers in? Children with faces covered.


[muhm-er] noun 1. a person who wears a mask or fantastic costume while merrymaking or taking part in a pantomime, especially at Christmas and other festive seasons. 2. an actor, especially a pantomimist.

Dec 24, 1966, Newfoundland.

Date is date photos were published in Weekend Magazine. Photos accompany story written on mummers by Farley Mowat.

Credit: Bruce Moss/ Weekend Magazine/ Library and Archives Canada/ e002852713

(via Archives Search - Library and Archives Canada)


this appears to be the crowntail variety.


Mummers Museum - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The first question people tend to have when they hear about the mummers museum is “what is a mummer?”

Imagine a roving group of drunken masked revelers, demanding food, drink, and a singing match: these are mummers.

The term “mummer” meaning a “disguised person” dates back to medieval times (and probably before, most mummery involves a mix of Christian and pagan traditions that go back to pre-Roman times) and references costumed performers of some kind, though it is unclear exactly what kind of performances mummers gave during these times. Connected with a type of folk play, the common aspect of mummery was the use of masks and elaborate disguises as well as generally rowdy performances. These “mummer plays” and associated customs spread throughout Europe gaining a slightly different tradition and meaning in each area.

In the late 1600s settlers from all over Europe, particularly from Sweden, began to settle in Philadelphia, and they brought with them their traditions of mummery. One of the traditions of the Swedes, almost all of whom carried firearms with them, was to “shoot in” the New Years, something we still associate with the holiday.

Known as the New Year’s Shooters and Mummers Association, the group would travel around during Christmas time, sing and be rewarded with food and drink. Mummery was essentially the drunker, rowdier, firearm carrying, masked, and pagan ritual infused precursor to Christmas carolers. It would be the Victorians (particularly Dickens and Washington Irving) who would transform the raucous mummers into the respectful Carolers we think of today, but not in Philadelphia. A common Philadelphia mummer chant went

Here we stand before your door, As we stood the year before; Give us whiskey; give us gin, Open the door and let us in. Or give us something nice and hot Like a steaming hot bowl of pepper pot.

For a full history of the mummers past and present, keep reading about The Mummers Museum on Atlas Obscura…




By John M Johansen

John M Johansen ushered in a new era of architecture in 1970 in Oklahoma City with his radical Mummer’s Theatre (later known as the Stage Center). Johansen, who received the prestigious American Institute of Architects Honors Award for his design, incorporated two major influences in his design - brutalism and systems theory - to create one of his most successful projects. “My purpose was to excite, intrigue, tempt, and entrap. In the Mummers Theater, theater goers are drawn into a building as stage set and feel themselves actors among professionals on the stage itself, in a total, combined performance. As I like to make the analogy, such buildings are like artful, subtle women who, offering love, do not give themselves, but ask to be taken.”  -  John M Johansen FAIA


July 2014 - The Mummer (Stage Center) Theater is in the process of being destroyed. Architects throughout the world, architectural historians, students of architecture, countless lovers of the avant-garde building, and even Frank Gehry - who spoke out about the importance of protecting and preserving the building and how it influenced his own career - could not stop the arrogant destruction of his historic, iconic American building.

(see the video)

Read more: johnmjohansen

Photos: abandonedok