An 1808 law decreed that "masquerades" and "masquerade halls" were "common nuisances" and that anyone participating would be subject to a fine and imprisonment.
It was apparently never successfully enforced and was repealed in 1859.
They prepare elaborate costumes, performance routines, and moveable scenery, which take months to complete.
This is done in clubhouses – many of which are on or near 2nd Street (called "Two Street" by some local residents) an edited two-hour broadcast of the parade was picked up by WGN America and WGN-TV; the broadcast debuted January 3, 2009.
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By the early 19th century, these coalesced with earlier Swedish customs, including the Christmas neighbor visits and possibly shooting firearms on New Year's Day (although this was common in other countries as well) as well as the Pennsylvania German custom of "belsnickling," where adults in disguise questioned children about their behavior during the previous year. The Mummers continued their traditions of comic verse in exchange for cakes and ale.
Small groups of up to twenty mummers, their faces blackened, went door to door, shooting and shouting, and adapting the English Mummer's play by replacing the character of "King George" with that of "General Washington." Through the 19th century, large groups of disguised (often in blackface) working class young men roamed the streets on New Year's Day, organizing "riotous" processions, firing weapons into the air, and demanding free drinks in taverns, and generally challenging middle and upper-class notions of order and decorum.
The parade is repeatedly critiqued by local residents, academics, and the media for its racist depiction of minority groups, which often includes blackface, brownface, or redface caricatures.
Revivals of this tradition are still celebrated annually in South Gloucestershire, England on Boxing Day along with other locations in England and in parts of Ireland on St.
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