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?