Mummering is an old Christmas tradition (also known as â€œjanneyingâ€) predominant in Newfoundland and Labrador. Itâ€™s mostly outlawed now, but I know some rural communities still participate among friends and family.
The whole affair is supposed to be a lively, fun celebration…but some texts allude to a mischievous side of Mummering in the past as well. Whatever the case, this yearâ€™s parade was another hit and a lot of fun, even if once again I missed the Rig-Up and ended up not actually being in the festivities.
How to be a Mummer
1. Dress up in ridiculous fashion to become completely disguised. Nobody should be able to guess your gender. Some fashion tips: wear a huge, grandmotherâ€™s bra outside a plaid work jacket; place a lace doily over your face; stuff the ass of your pants with fabric; carry an Ugly Stick; wear a toque.
2. Go around your community armed with accordions and other musical instruments, and knock on neighbourâ€™s doors while shouting, â€œANY MUMMERS â€˜LOWED IN?â€ The correct way to speak like a Mummer, however, is to use an ingress of breath (i.e. speak while sucking in your breath, rather than blowing out).
3. Carry lots of alcohol.
4. Take over your hostâ€™s house, dancing jigs, playing a reel, and generally causing a ruckus. Lots of Purity syrup and Golden Wedding should be on hand.
5. Have the onlookers guess your identity.
You can imagine why this is illegal in some places, but Iâ€™ve never heard of any Mummering stories gone wrong (correct me if Iâ€™m lying). Itâ€™s Newfoundland, after all, and itâ€™s likely if you go into someoneâ€™s home and torment the hell out of a family, youâ€™ll get chased from town.
In the meantime, enjoy these videos taken from the parade. Not sure what the drums have to do with anything, but it works.