Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange. This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year. Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution. Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800’s. January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.
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