Mummer dog

Video: Everyday I’m mummerin’

Mummering is probably one of Newfoundland’s strangest Christmas traditions. It’s also amazingly awesome.

Wikipedia sums it up pretty well:

Mummering is a Christmastime house-visiting tradition still practiced in Newfoundland and Labrador. Also known as mumming or janneying, it typically involves a group of friends or family who dress in disguise and visit homes within their community or neighbouring communities during the twelve days of Christmas. If the mummers are welcomed into a house, they often do a variety of informal performances that may include dance, music, jokes, or recitations. The hosts must guess the mummers’ identities before offering them food or drink.

In other words, you dress up in some scary ass costumes, invade people’s homes, and have a drunken good time. Like this dog with a bra on his back.

If you want to see what mummering looked like traditionally, have a gander at this video by Simani.

Nowadays, mummering is technically banned, due to a long list of assaults and even one murder. But since Newfoundlanders are badasses, we tend to do it anyway.

In St. John’s, the annual Mummers Festival has been keeping tradition alive with Hobby Horse and Ugly Stick workshops, and a big parade just before Christmas.

I participated for the first time this year, along with some good friends. I probably failed at disguising my red hair, but we had a ridiculous time. I felt kinda like I was reliving a Tam-Tams experience from Montreal, except with less drugs and more masks. We danced through the streets of downtown St. John’s, participated in a drum circle at Bannerman Park, and then cut a jig at The Rooms.

I opted out of the mummer karaoke, though.

Watch the video, and tell me what you think. You might enjoy the scene of me shaking my mummer butt. Will you join me in next year’s parade?

  • January 03 2013
    ToniaDaBight

    I loved that video… When I was home for Christmas this year ten of us took off and went mummering in my hometown of St. Anthony Bight. Every year we go house to house in our small town visiting everyone and trying to keep a dying tradition alive. I think it is a bit easier to do it in a town of 100 people, it isn’t as scary and by the time you get to the third house everyone in “Da Bight” knows you will be showing up. The video looked like a lot of fun though!

    • January 03 2013

      Glad you enjoyed, Tonia! I’d LOVE to give real mummering a try. And good point — I guess there’s no discreet way to announce a mummer’s arrival, hahahaha.

    • January 14 2013

      Yup, very true! Doubt you’d find too many strangers in a town of 100 people, lol.

  • January 03 2013

    One of the things I Love about the Newfoundland Mummers Parades is that it’s an opportunity for everyday people to join in and have some fun and participate in some community spirit! Yeah, Love it!

  • January 03 2013
    Val

    You should contact Rhonda O’Keefe in Ferryland! She’ll take you Mummerin’ up ‘da shore!

  • January 03 2013
    Kae Lani | A Travel Broad

    Oh wow – we have the Mummers here in Philly too! It’s considered America’s oldest folk fest. But I would love to see how it goes down in St. John’s!

    • January 14 2013

      I saw your post — LOVE it! Let’s do a Mummers swap

  • January 04 2013

    I need to come visit NFLD! You seem to have so much fun!

  • January 04 2013

    I need to come visit NFLD! You seem to have so much fun!

  • January 04 2013

    This is really cool! And this decides it.. I am definitely visiting Newfoundland someday soon! :)

  • January 05 2013

    Love it!

  • January 08 2013

    This sounds amazing! I totally want to partake!

  • January 08 2013

    This sounds amazing! I totally want to partake!

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