Blog Archives

Mummer’s Dance & Old Christmas Day Party

The Mummer’s Dance at the Flower’s Cove Lion’s Centre kicked off on Saturday – the eve of Old Christmas Day. We decided to dress up and kick up our heels as we celebrated tradition and the joys of the holidays.

We’ve pulled out boxes of old dress-up clothes, former Halloween costume gear and lots of accessories.  Some of the greatest fun with mummering is getting ready with your friends and family, as you dig through the mixture of colorful clothing to find the perfect ensemble. We had quite the band of merry mummers!

DSC_0138

We were the first group of mummer’s to arrive and opened the floor. Just minutes after our arrive we were joined by a dozen or so more mysterious mummers. The DJ then played the Mummer’s Song. I don’t think there were many people in attendance that left the floor for very long. A time to be had by all! There is not doubt in my mind, the spirit of mummering is quite strong and really experiencing a true revival on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Old Christmas Day has passed and the mummer costumes are put away for another season. I encourage you all to plan with friends during Christmas 2013 to plan an event or an evening of mummering in your community.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Related articles

A Scoff at the Cabin…

I woke up at 5 AM today, the wind was howling and the weather temperature rang in at -20 degrees. The windchill made it feel like -37 degrees outside. It is on days like these I think of the warmth of the old wood stove, a nice cup of tea and fond memories at the cabin.

Every Christmas we draw family names on my Dad’s side where 7 families exchange presents with one another. This year, my Aunt Linda gave us presents. She gave my mother a lovely print our cousin originally painted of “A Scoff at the Cabin” in February 2008.  Depicted below are many of Newfoundland & Labrador‘s favourites, from Purity Hard Bread, Lemon Cream Biscuits served up with some Eversweet Margarine, Purity Jam, Homemade Bread, “Newfie” steak (bologna), a cup of tea with Carnation Milk, a shot of Newfoundland Screech and for dessert some Purity spearmint knobs.

DSC_0141

A cup of Tetley tea in the woods simply can not be topped! There must be something about the purity of the water flowing from the brook  and then boiled in a cast iron kettle over an open fire. While thinking about the cabin, I was able to enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate from one of the mugs my aunt also gave me for the holidays. A wonderful glimpse of another Newfoundland tradition of Christmas Mumming! I had the pleasure to dress up for the 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk, spent a night mummering in my home community and attended the Mummer’s Dance in Flower’s Cove dressed up with the gang (a post to follow).

DSC_0144

I like many Newfoundlanders & Labradorians enjoy our foodstuffs and traditions that are quintessentially ours. I thank my thoughtful aunt for the presents as she knows how much I love consuming culture.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk Continues to Break Local Record

The 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk was the most successful to date, seeing increasing numbers across all age ranges from the two walks held in Flower’s Cove and Anchor Point, respectively.  A total of 40 mummers or jannies participated in this year’s walk, with a wide range of ages from toddler to adult. There were so many, not all could fit in the photos. We even picked up a couple during the parade.

Can you guess which one I am?

Can you guess which one I am?

At 3 PM the residents of the Straits congregated at the Savage Cove church basement and paraded around the community. The band of merry mummers waved at vehicles and those looking on from their windows. It was quite the sight!

DSC_0040

There were big ones,

DSC_0049

and small ones…

DSC_0048

At the end, we all returned to the Church basement listened to the Mummer’s Song and other Christmas tunes. Everyone sat around enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, Purity syrup and other goodies. Special thanks to organizers Trudy C. and co-founder, Sabrina G. for continuing to ensure the mummer’s walk continues on the Great Northern Peninsula. As well, big thanks for all those who helped in any way and getting involved. It was great to see many families and youth interested in keeping a tradition that was so vibrant in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Also, the Straits Food Sharing Association benefited from non-perishable food items.

We look forward to continued growth next year as the fourth annual will be set during the Christmas season. Please take the time this Christmas to go door to door, visit your friends and neighbours – find those old sheets, ugly sticks and pillow sacks. Happy jannying!

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Second Annual Mummer’s Walk & Food Drive Draws More Participants!

Sabrina Gaulton, NDP District Association President for the Straits-White Bay North organized the 2nd Annual Mummer’s Walk and Food Drive in the Straits.

Despite the high winds more than 30 mummer’s or jannies came out from various communities to the Anchor Point Lions Club in mid-day to participate in the Mummer’s Walk and also support the local Food Sharing Association.

“It is important that we keep traditions alive, promote active lifestyles and support local charities” states Ms. Gaulton. “We are greatly impressed by the number of food items donated, as after Christmas food banks are typically depleted”.

She is quite fond of the tradition and would like to see more activities planned in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador that promotes these initiatives.

After a chilly walked and holding onto your mask with dear life all mummer’s made it safely back to the Anchor Point Lion’s Club for a glass of Purity Syrup or a hot cup of chocolate. This year was an international mummer’s walk as we had for the first time a Swiss Mummer in the troupe.

This is an initiative I am quite proud to participate and look forward to continued growth for 2012. So mark your calendars on December 29, 2012 we will officially host the Mummer’s Walk in the community of Savage Cove.

Live Rural NL & Plan Christmas Mumming this Year –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Is that Donny Dunphy or a Christmas Mummer?

Donny Dunphy is quite iconic with his jib rap, videos and musical performances. Him and Brenda have left an impression on myself and friends that lead to rounds of laughter when their names come up. He is quite the entertainer and I am the owner of his CD.  My friend’s red hair reminds me of the strands sported Donny Dunphy. However, he is  what we refer to as a Mummer or Janny.

The concept of Christmas mumming has a long rooted tradition in our province, especially rural Newfoundland & Labrador. During the 12 days of Christmas it was not uncommon to see the janny’s or the mummers come knocking at the doors asking “Any Mummer’s ‘lowd in?”

My friends from Germany and Switzerland got a firsthand experience with Christmas Mummering as we dressed up in silly clothing, with bed sheets and our walking sticks.

The jannies are getting ready?

Can you guess which one I am? I was even able to fool my grandmother this time around.

We started off with just four, visiting family, neighbours and other residents of the community. Each house a guessing game was played, dancing around to music was prominent and even a resident pulled out the accordion and played the Mummer’s Song!  As we moved along from house to house we added to our group to double in size to 8! A happy gang of merry mummers bringing smiles to the faces throughout the households, with maybe the exception of a couple of small children.

It is important to hold onto parts of culture and heritage that one feels is important to their upbringing. I will not forget the impact of mummers on my life some two decades ago. Since I was a child I’ve been introduced to the concept of mummering and firming believe it must continue. I did an interview with the Northern Pen Newspaper expressing these experiences. So each Christmas let us all make a concerted effort to keep this deep-rooted tradition alive and well in rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

For those of you wondering, which mummer I am, well, I am the one with the hump!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

%d bloggers like this: