A new parade for Philadelphia to celebrate the holidays

A multicultural parade will begin Philadelphia’s first in-person holiday season since COVID.

Lion dancers dance in the street during a parade.

File photo: Cheung's Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy ‭lion dancers parade along North 10th Street in Chinatown. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

The holiday season will soon be upon us and the city of Philadelphia is adding a new, multi-cultural celebration to the events, realizing a dream of Mayor Jim Kenney.

The first decorated tree of the holiday season was set up at 11th and Market to signal an in-person holiday season for the city of Philadelphia. The mayor said the multicultural parade will be held on December 4 from Second and Market streets and end at City Hall.

“The Visit Philadelphia holiday parade is the first of its kind and will feature holidays celebrated throughout the city during this holiday season, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the Chinese New Year,” said Kenney. He added, “The parade will also incorporate arts and culture groups from diverse and multicultural backgrounds, reflecting a wide array of holidays and traditions celebrated throughout Philadelphia.”

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The goal is to welcome people back downtown for cultural events, dining, and shopping. Rachel Ferguson, the chief innovation and global diversity officer of Visit Philadelphia said they are “bringing back traditions in a major way.” She added that people like the “fun and events” that the city has to offer, which this year will include a fireworks show over the Delaware River on New Year’s Day.

Kelly Lee, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy said, “The parade will be a celebration that should not be missed, with amazing music, performances, marching bands, floats, and much more.” She added there will be a “focus on diverse communities. The arts are embedded in every community throughout Philadelphia, with hundreds of organizations of every size and every genre,” Lee said.

Mayor Jim Kenney said, “It’s time to have some fun and get back to what we are used to in the spirit of the holidays. It’s Christmas, but every ethnic, racial, and religious group can get around this holiday and celebrate the fact that we are alive.” The mayor said he’s looking forward to the parade and that it will bring some “continued retail traffic and office traffic back,” to the city.

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Kenney said he has three more Christmases left, and hopes the multicultural parade will be, “a continued holiday experience after I’m gone.”

There was no mention of the Mummers parade during the event. Afterwards, Kenney said the parade would go on, but the group had to get their own permit this year, and would be treated like any other event.

The Recreation Department has confirmed that a permit has been granted for the mummers and it will provide logistical support for the 2022 parade, including equipment like bleachers and raisers, traffic planning and street closures, and parade day security and safety.

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