BEAUMONT, Texas — In New Orleans and here in Southeast Texas we celebrate Mardi Gras with parades. In Philadelphia they celebrate the new year with the Mummers Parade.

One of the string bands that has performed in the yearly parade since the 20s will be performing during Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas.

String bands at the Mummers Parade, which are made up of saxophones, banjos, accordions, violins, bass violins and percussion instruments, wear elaborate costumes according to PhillyMummers.com.

Parade rules don’t allow the use of brass instruments and the string bands which helps create the unique sound they’re known for according to the site.

The Woodland String Band was formed in 1926 according to the band’s website.

The band will be performing in three parades over the Mardi Gras weekend...

  • Friday night, February 21, 2020 during the Valero Krewe of Krewes parade at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday evening, February 22, 2020 during the Total Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade at 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020 during the ExxonMobil Motor Parade at 4 p.m.

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The band has performed on thousands of occasions over the years for many different dignitaries according to the band’s website.

Some of them include resident Franklin D. Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy, President Richard M. Nixon, Prince Philip of Norway as well as her majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England the site said.

Basically “Mummers” are entertainers in costume who help ring in the new year according to PhillyMummers.com. “Mummers” and their “mummery date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome, Greece, England, Germany and France according to PhillyMummers.com.

Those traditions were passed down and eventually brought to America by immigrants the site said.

Neighborhood celebrations turned into an area-wide parade by the 1870s and with two main groups including “Fancy Dress” and “Comic Clubs” the site said.

Eventually the City of Philadelphia sponsored the first official Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day in 1901 according to the site.

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The Mummers Parade is still held on the first of the year and now features more than 10,000 marchers.

Five divisions make up the groups that march in the parade. They are Comic, Fancy, Fancy Brigade, Wench Brigade and String Band.

The comic groups lampoon politics and social themes while the other groups perform in ornate costumes using floats and props according to PhillyMummers.com.