Sunday, 7 February 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador Culture

Known as 'THE ROCK':
Newfoundland and Labrador society has been shaped by a particular combination of geographical, economic, and historical forces. Among the most important influences have been its isolated location on the eastern edge of North America, its marine environment, the work patterns and social relationships that developed in the fishing economy, and the British and Irish roots of the majority of its people. These and other factors have fostered a vital society and a culture whose elements range from oral traditions to popular entertainment and games, from techniques associated with work, especially in the fishery, to both official and unofficial religious beliefs and practices. Distinctive variations of spoken English and French and a rich material culture are also found in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The roots of many aspects of this culture can be traced as far back as the seventeenth and even sixteenth centuries, when fishers visited the region for the annual harvest of cod or when planters attempted to establish permanent settlements in places such as Cupids and Ferryland. The society began to take on a more permanent form, however, only at the beginning of the nineteenth century when the migratory fishery began to be replaced by a local village-based economy.
The new conditions generated a complex set of social relationships among fishing families, local and more distant merchants and their employees, church and clergy, and often remote but powerful governments. Folk entertainments that have been widely described as “typical” of Newfoundland life - mummering, 'times' and kitchen parties with their repertoire of performance, stories and songs - all emerged as important parts of outport life.

1 comment:

Kitty said...

Love this post. I mentioned in another recent installment that my dear friends have a B&B in Newfoundland. I can't wait to get there! There are literally glaciers passing by the house every day. And puffins...and eagles... unbelievable! Oh Canada!