Philadelphians, despite being open-minded, cosmopolitan folks, live in their cultural and culinary bubbles that outsiders have a hard time understanding. From an obsession with Wawa to Wednesday summer nights, here are the things that Philadelphians believe to be of the utmost importance that the rest of the world couldn’t care less about.
1. The Mummers Parade
The rest of the world probably doesn’t care what a Mummer is or have any interest in why they dress up in costumes and flounce down Broad Street every January 1. But, in Philly, we know that the secret to New Year’s Day has nothing to do with a ball dropping. Here, it’s all about the greatest tradition that no one’s ever heard of.
“But it’s just a gas station convenience store,” they say. To which, we would reply, “Have some respect.” Wawa is a beacon of hope in an otherwise dreary life. Anyone who has ever had a $3 Hoagiefest meal or cruised in for a breakfast burrito at 3:00 AM only to find the exhausted staff alert and ready to serve can attest to why Wawa is not just a convenience store.
3. Wednesday nights in summer
Most of us now have a love-hate relationship with the debauchery of this annual summer tradition, but we’ll still go out on a Wednesday every week simply because we can. And no, we won’t pay full price for drinks. But also yes, we will demand to be over-served.
4. A little friendly competition amongst neighborhoods
It may not be relevant to you what those from the Northeast have to say about folks over in Point Breeze, unless of course, you’re from Philly. Or more specifically, from one of those neighborhoods. In this case, this is the most important thing. Especially according to your mom, who just can’t understand why you’d want to leave whichever neighborhood you grew up in, anyway.
We don’t care that no one knows what these are, and we certainly aren’t interested in how they compare to those fake Hostess desserts you all keep trying to sell to us. For us Philadelphians, there is no sadness or pain in life that cannot be soothed by biting into a Tastykake. If you grew up here, these were at your 50th birthday party, and you’ll be damned if they aren’t on the table at your 50th wedding anniversary.
6. Free coffee day at Wawa
Free coffee should matter to everyone.
7. Free Rita’s day
While everyone else is talking about the beauty of spring after a long winter, we’re out here talking about our water ice. For whatever reason, we’re happy to wait in that hour-long line for our free cup regardless of the fact that it’s only saving us $3.
8. Parks on tap
We’re not sure how Philly ended up with yet another pop-up beer garden, but it has happened. Maybe it’s because we find every and any excuse to break out into a party. Or maybe they’re trying to drag us from our bar seats and into the world outside. Whatever it is, we’re not mad about sipping $6 beers while getting to pet everyone else’s dog.
You don’t have to know what Gritty is. Nor do you need to try to play the “Is it an animal? Which animal is it? Is it a boy?” game that outsiders are so fond of. Here’s the thing, the love we have for Gritty is pure and selfless. It transcends boundaries, bringing us Philadelphians together for reasons we don’t need to understand.