Monday, 15 December 2008

Newfoundland Christmas and Mummers

"Rich with history. Rife with culture. Sprawling with natural beauty. All these wonders have been here for thousands of years, embraced by those who happened upon them. It's up to the traveller to enjoy them, to go vigorously in search of people, adventures, and places to experience. Around every bend you will find a piece of heaven, a delightful sight, a playful breeze that will help your journey.

There's just something about a place where life itself is cloaked in a blanket of snow, that does something to quiet the soul and elevate the spirit. Where serenity can be found at below zero temperatures. And the air is served fresh and slightly chilled.

Have you ever met someone and felt as if you’ve known them all your life? The kind of person you can find common ground in, despite coming from seemingly different worlds? The very kind that can transition from new friend to old friend with unexpected ease? In this place, it’s not an unusual occurrence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Because it’s hard not to like the kind of people who live on the very edge of the world. A warm and welcoming people with a vibrant spirit and strong sense of self. Living remarkable lives in a remarkable place. Relying and thriving on our own ingenuity and on the kinship of each other. The way Newfoundlanders and Labradorians always have. Perhaps it’s all that salty sea air that makes us who we are. Genuine and uncomplicated. Creative and spontaneous. With a language and humour that's funny, right down to our bones. And, above all, honest to goodness true. Or maybe it’s the naturally rugged environs that keeps them firmly grounded. A constant reminder of the really important things in life. Things like family, good friends, and good times. And it all boils down to the type of characteristics you’ll always remember. And the type of characters you’ll never forget."

Christmas in Newfoundland is centered around the family; parties often fill the kitchen - hearty comfort food for meals, music, singing and Mummers. (Oh you must check out the meaning of Mummers!) Mummers have been a Newfoundland tradition for many years. Mummers also called "Jannies or Johnies" are Christmas revellers who disguise themselves and go door to door seeking admission. When asking permission to enter a house, voices are also disguised. This is done by breathing in, instead of out when the question, "Any mummers 'lowed in?" is posed. If permission to enter is given, Mummers will usually entertain the hosts with accordions, fiddles, mouth organs (harmonicas) guitars, etc. In some homes Mummers are offered an alcoholic drink or two, while in others, food in the form of cake and syrup or some other sweet is offered. The object of the disguise is to fool the hosts, and hosts will try to guess the identity of the mummers. If the host is successful in doing this, Mummers must lift their masks and show their real faces.


Miss Crowland said...

I'd love to visit one day. My little friend Allison lives there!

karey m. said...

please check your dec 9th post.



Suzanne said...

The photos are absolutely breathtaking. It makes me want to climb in my red sled and hit the road. I want to see these things for myself! The wanderlust is setting in. Thanks for taking me to Newfoundland. I can't wait to see what is next.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

karey m. said...

oops. dec 5th, i mean...