Most readers know by now I have an exquisite love and passion for the tradition of mummering or as we always called it growing up – jannying. I continue the tradition each year, as well with a friend co-organized for five consecutive years a mummer’s walk in the Straits.
I have numerous mummer ornaments that include those handmade hooked-mat ones, clay to those store coming from St. Anthony, Roddickton-Bide Arm, Woody Point, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove, Flower’s Cove and places in between. I would like to see Glacier Glass of Englee, NL produce specialty “Mummer Pieces” for this years holiday season.
I’ve seen more locally produced Mummer memorabilia, but they too compete with mass produced products from China. I much prefer my crybaby size mummer doll made in Roddickton-Bide Arm or the four mummers with the knitted sweaters I bought at St. Anthony Come Home Year 2012, which were made in Goose Cove. It is also where I got my miniature ugly stick too!
I love my new mummer’s stein, which makes a happy pair if one wanted to have a drink of ale with a friend. The charms are a nice compliment when sharing a glass of wine or hosting a tasting. My new ornaments from this Christmas are hung on my tree, the Simini singing ornament, granny, the old stove and the checkered top hat mummer playing the fiddle. I really love that one! Finally, one can curl up to the cozy traditions of a throw that depicts the unique sounds of Newfoundland & Labrador. It truly is part of any band of mummer’s attire, an accordion, fiddle, ugly stick and a set of spoons.
Thank you to all for the lovely gifts, they had added to my traditional Newfoundland & Labrador Christmas tree and made the spirit of Christmas mummering that much more enjoyable!
Let’s keep celebrating traditions that have lasted through the centuries.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
The Mummer’s Walk on the Great Northern Peninsula all started when two friends shared a conversation about their love for the tradition of mummering. The event was to be regionally focused, bringing together people from many communities to teach the younger generation a rural tradition cherished by those of our grandparents.
The first event started in Flower’s Cove (2010), then Anchor Point (2011), Savage Cove (2012), Green Island Cove (2013) and this year’s event will be in Sandy Cove. People will congregate at the Sandy Cove Lion’s Club anytime after 2 PM for the rig-up and the walk will begin at 2:30 PM. If past years are any indicator, it likely will be cold and may result in a shorter parade route. Festivities will continue after the walk at the Lion’s Club. This event is opened to all ages and everyone is invited to attend.
Let’s celebrate Mummering and make December 29th as the official day of the Mummer!
Live Rural NL,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for The Straits-White Bay North
Newfoundland and Labrador folklorist Dale Jarvis has produced a book documenting a tradition that is very near and dear to my heart with his launch of “Any Mummers ‘lowed In?”
I first met Dale Jarvis in the summer of 2001 as a participant of Medquest. One of the activities on our list was the Haunted Hike http://www.hauntedhike.com/. These hikes take place between June and September and tell local tales and ghost stories that have quite an impact. It was actually where I met my friend, Amanda who celebrates today. Happy Birthday!
I’ve always had an interest in the concept of mummering or jannying since a very young age. As a young child, I would go door to door in disguise at Christmastime. This continued through the teenage and even today’s adult years. My major paper in Folklore 1000 was on Christmas Mummering and in 2010 my friend Sabrina and I co-founded the first ever Mummer’s Walk in the Straits at Flower’s Cove. It has continued each year at Anchor Point (2011), Savage Cove (2012) and Green Island Cove (2013). We have seen a revival in the region of mummering with more people going door to door, mummer’s dances, mummer crafts, memorabilia and other activities.
It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Dale Jarvis in January of this year, as he was compiling stories, photos and information about mummering in preparation for his book. “Any Mummers ‘lowed in?” was officially launched on October 15th. It is amazing to see this work in printed form, as I received a copy as gift from my friend Krista for my birthday on the 23rd. I have only had the opportunity to read the first chapter, but have skimmed the book, peering at the variety of images, songs and took an interest in the section of the hobby horse. I look forward to reading it in its entirety.
My excitement was greatly peaked when I turned to page 4. I snapped a photo and sent a text to my cousin and said, “remember this?”. We were tiny mummers visiting the neighbours. I believe we told them we were from Sandy Cove or Green Island Brook depending on the house. Likely my mother had already called in advance letting them know we were on our way. The wonderful memories of growing up in Green Island Cove!
Throughout the book are a number of images of mummers of all ages over the years, including several from the Great Northern Peninsula that include our Mummer Walks and Dances.
I encourage people to get a copy of this wonderful book, just in time for the holidays! The book is a masterfully done in a way that preserves, shows an evolution of mummering and shares our local knowledge and culture of these centuries old tradition. If you would like to get a copy you can do so direct from Chapters/Indigo or Flanker Press on-line or purchase at many bookstores. Visit http://dalejarvis.blogspot.ca/ for more information about the author, book, up-coming signings and how to purchase.
One thing I’ve come to learn more recently from our interview is Dale Jarvis certainly is a mummering enthusiast, a hobby horse maker and a founding member of the 2009 Mummers Festival in St. John’s. We need others to share in our interest and encourage more active mummering. It truly is a tradition that has been around for as long as anyone in our rural outports can remember. This year I would like to announce that our 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk will be on December 28th at Sandy Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
The Mummer’s Walk was initially held in Flower’s Cove on December 29th, 2010. This event was created from dialogue between local Anchor Point native Sabrina Gaulton and I to encourage locals to continue our valued traditions. It was always a goal that this would lead to an annual event and also include a mummer’s dance and a night of mummer in each community.
The Flower’s Cove event was well received and much fun. It included a walk, some dancing at the Lion’s Club and a few treats of hot chocolate, purity syrup and some jam jams. The tradition continued to Anchor Point in 2011, where my friends from Switzerland and Germany also got to participate in our rural tradition. It was a windy day, but still kids and adults alike dressed up and enjoyed the event. In 2012, the festivities were held at Savage Cove, which drew more than 40 mummer’s, nearly doubling past events. Also, there was a Mummer’s Dance held too!
This year we are excited to announce the annual event will take place at the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club on 29th of December at 2:30 PM. Young and old are encouraged from all communities to come out and show your traditional spirit to join the merry band of mummers.
Come big ones, come small ones, come tall ones and thin, boys dressed as women and girls dressed as men…
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North