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19:51 Oct 22, 2001
Spanish to English translations [Non-PRO]
Spanish term or phrase: mummer
What is a "mummer"?

Summary of answers provided
5 +1mimo, pantomimo, enmascaradoxxxOso
5A masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festivalxxxR.J.Chadwick
4maybe this will help....xxxtazdog
4bailarín o actor en una actuación con máscarasJH Trads



5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
bailarín o actor en una actuación con máscaras

masked performer in a folk play

JH Trads
United States
Local time: 16:53
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 908

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  xxxR.J.Chadwick: Not always
280 days
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
mimo, pantomimo, enmascarado

More options for you,
Good luck from Oso :^)

    Simon & Schuster's
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 3064

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Myrtha
11 hrs
  -> ¡Gracias mil Myrtha! ¶:^)
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
maybe this will help....

The word itself is in English....

The link below has lots of photos, articles, etc., including historical info. about mummers, to help give you a better idea of what they are.

Hope it helps.

Local time: 23:53
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 5410
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280 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
A masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival

This word connotes amateurish, open-air entertainments in public fairs, often by travelling or part-time local players.

I found three dictionary definitions only the first of which, to my understanding, captures the specificity of the term.


mum·mer n.
A masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival.

[Middle English, from Old French momeur, from momer, to wear a mask, pantomime.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


\Mumm"er\, n. [Cf. OF. mommeur. See Mumm, and cf. Momier.] One who mumms, or makes diversion in disguise; a masker; a buffon.

Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers. --Milton.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


n : an actor who communicates entirely by gesture and facial expression [syn: mime, mimer, pantomimer, pantomimist]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

In default of a translation into Spanish, here is a whole history of "mummery":-

Mummery is as ancient as man's dream of getting outside of his customary life; it is as old as man's imagination.

Tracing back through the mazes of history that led to England and Germany, to ancient France, pagan Rome and Greece, we find mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. The pagan Saturnalia and Carnival, for example, an ancient Roman festival of Saturn beginning December 17th, was marked by unrestrained merry-making.

As far back as 400 BC, Roman laborers observed the feast of the Saturnalia in honor of their god, Saturn, and the reaping of the harvest. They made calls on friends and they exchanged gifts. It was also customary for some of the gifts to bear greetings for a happy new year.

Slaves sported robes from their masters, and the patricians, wearing fantastic costumes, roamed the streets with their slaves. Age and rank were forgotten for the fiesta and all persons were free for the day. There was a musical background for the capers of the multitude with songs and ballads befitting the joyous occasion.

An early custom was the Florentine Carnival usually held in the beginning of Lent - a day set aside by the monks of the Middle Ages for the lords of misrule and the abbots of unreason.

At this time, England and Germany celebrated their Christmas Mosque, resulting in riotous indulgence. This took the form of a dramatic entertainment popular in 16th and 17th centuries, and followed usually an allegorical theme which embodied pageantry, music and dancing. Immigrants and travelers brought these customs, celebrations and festivities when they came to America. Continued throughout the centuries of American history, this traditional gala pageant of Philadelphia symbolizes the ushering in of the new year.

One of the earliest known accounts of a mummers' parade was written by Dr. Henry Muhlenberg, who established the Lutheran Church in America. He wrote in 1839: "Men met on the roads in Tinicum and Kingsessing, who were disguised as clowns, shouting at the top of their voices and shooting guns.

When the Swedes came to Tinicum, just outside of Philadelphia, they brought their custom of visiting friends on "Second Day Christmas," December 26, long before William Penn arrived in the good ship "Welcome". Gradually they extended the period of their calls to the New Year, which was welcomed with marked revelry and joyous noises. Masqueraders paraded the streets of old Philadelphia, and other sections now a part of the city.

Many of the revelers were armed. They carried pistols for protection along with their bells and sundry noisemakers. And as expected, the pistols and even muskets were called upon to add their emphatic blasts of the din of "welcoming in the New Year". Those who "shot in" the New Year naturally became "New Year's Shooters" and thus they established an identification through the years. The early Swedish Mummers appointed a leader, or "speech director", who had a special little dance step and who recited a rhyme like this:

Here we stand at your door,

As we stood the year before;

Give us whiskey, give us gin,

Open the door and let us in.

Even during the Revolutionary period, New Year's Day continued to be a day of carnival and friendly calls. General Howe, whose redcoats occupied the city, staged the "Meschianza" in the Wharton mansion on New Year's Day, 1778, and the ill-starred Major Andre described it as a "gay and gorgeous spectacle".
George Washington, following his inauguration, began the official custom of New Year's Day calls and continued it during the seven years he occupied the presidential mansion in Philadelphia, then the capital. The mummers continued to celebrate annually in their traditional way. Reciting doggerel and receiving in return cakes and ale, groups of five to twenty, their faces blackened, would march from home to home, shooting and shouting, doing friendly impersonations of General Washington and burlesquing the fashionable English mummers' play of St. George and the Dragon.

A character that always accompanied their "Washington" was Cooney Cracker, a clown whose costumes and antics make some historians believe he was the forerunner of the Uncle Sam of today. This shooter impersonating Washington had several poems and speeches to recite, which still survive.

The burlesquing of their fashionable mummers' play and the increasing number of the black-faced revelers, offended the "Social Leaders" of the day. It caused them in 1808 to force through the legislature an act, declaring that "masquerades, masquerade balls, and masked processions were public nuisances", and decreeing that oil persons who allowed masked balls in their homes, entertained shooters or participated in these or similar demonstrations, would be subject to a fine and imprisonment not to exceed three months.

Nevertheless, the farmers, tradesmen, craftsmen, apprentices, laborers and members of fire-fighting companies continued to stage clandestine masquerades on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and there are no records of any convictions under this act. They continued their own ideas of celebrating New Year's and clung to their rifles and pistols and friendly calls in "welcoming in the year". Gradually they acquired the name "shooters' which is still used today.

With such a rich background it is no wonder that the traditional Philadelphia Mummers' New Year's Day Pageant has continued for over a century and becomes more colorful and spectacular each succeeding year.


Local time: 05:53
PRO pts in pair: 218
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