The Straits Mummer’s Walk started in 2010, when my friend Sabrina and I talked about how much we loved mummering and how the tradition was losing ground since when we were teenagers. She proposed a walk and we began the organization that December and chose the 29th as the official day of the mummer. The event was planned for our administrative hub in Flower’s Cove. We were greatly impressed that 20 people had the interest on a bitterly cold December day to parade around the Town.
Our goal always has been to increase awareness and encourage more mummering at the households. In 2011, at Anchor Point two mummer’s joined us from Switzerland and Germany to learn the art of Christmas mummering. We also visited many households in Green Island Cove that year.
In 2012, Savage Cove produced the greatest number of mummers at 44. We were very pleased to see so many younger jannies participate. It was on a Saturday, but still bitterly cold.
In 2013, Green Island Cove was our venue with a crowd of jannies joining us from St. Lunaire-Griquet to bring our tally to 40. It was a very cold day, so we had a short parade route just using the lower road. It was quit the sight the community had not seen in years.
This year, the event was held in Sandy Cove on a Monday and brought out 30 mummers, one as far as Port Saunders. There were big ones and small ones and talls ones and thin. A truly wonderful collection of dress, demeanor and age groups. There are some mummers that come every year and always new ones. I love the influx of new mummers, when an event is held in their own community, but the regional spirit by having those of surrounding communities join in to make the event an even larger success.
A couple of tunes were played by Wilga Hughes of Green Island Brook from his accordion and the mummers danced. Then we all marched off to the church and returned to the Lion’s Club. The RCMP and Straits Fire Department were on the scene to ensure safety of our participants. I am very thankful to those volunteers who gave freely of their time for the Mummer’s Walk. After a return to the Lion’s Club, we had Purity Syrup, Hot Chocolate and a few treats. Prizes were drawn and a little music played. Everyone was in the spirit and a number of people went door-to-door mummering that night, at least that is what my Facebook feed had indicated as dozens of mummer’s have been popping up in communities from Anchor Point to Flower’s Cove to Sandy Cove to Green Island Brook and as far as Ship Cove and many places in between. It is exciting to see a resurgence and pride placed in keeping this Christmas tradition alive and well.
In recent years, I have seen more interest in the tradition from dances, more local visits and more memorabilia produced. Also this year, I was interviewed by Folklorist Dale Jarvis and photos and pieces of my contribution made print in the book, “Any Mummer’s ‘lowed in?” I encourage people to get a copy and give it a read, there is lots of talk of the Northern Peninsula Mummers or Jannies.
I look forward to getting better from this Christmas cold, so I too can join my friends and band about and visit in disguise before Old Christmas Night. I look forward to seeing the Jannies. Come one, come all!
Here is a link to our local paper the Northern Pen – Mummer’s on Parade: http://www.northernpen.ca/News/Local/2014-12-29/article-3991416/Mummers-on-parade/1
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
During a visit to L’anse Aux Meadows, this photo of an overworked Canadian flag was found. It clearly illustrates the tremendous impact the wind has on that area. In Conche and Englee, I have similar photos of worn out flags by wind. As well, in my own community in the Straits region – flags are replaced on a regular basis due to the consistent amount of wind. So I ask, wind power? Why not?
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
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? (liveruralnl.com)
- Watch the iconic Land and Sea mummers show (cbc.ca)
- Hundreds of mummers parade in St. John’s (cbc.ca)
- A Swiss, German and Rural Newfoundlander Re-united for the Holidays. (liveruralnl.com)