Fergus from Ferryland Christmas Ornament
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Fergus from Ferryland Christmas Ornament.
"What's a mummer (or janney as they are called in this area)?" is the predictable question almost every visiting tourist will ask. A Newfoundlander knows...and remembers.....
Mummering is a centuries-old tradition that takes place over the 12 days of Christmas in the outports of Newfoundland. It involves dressing up in interesting (to say the least!) disguises, going visiting and getting up to a bit of mischief. A lace curtain or tea towel hides the face, clothes are worn inside out or backwards and underwear is worn over outerwear. "Men dress as women and women dress as men," goes the song. Once in disguise, the mummers set out for a night of fun in the community, going from house to house, at each one asking the ritual question on an inbreath, "Any mummers 'lowed in?" The mummers might then have a swally of rum or syrup, play the fiddle, accordion or ugly stick and dance a jig or two with granny.
Not as common as it once was, mummering lives on in Newfoundland art and craft. Let's all hope the tradition revives....
Mummers The Word. "Home Page". Mummers The Word
http://www.mummerstheword.com/home.php (7 Mar 2011)
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