December 28, 2015

Mummering

With a nation as large and diverse as Canada, it makes sense that different regions would have different traditions for celebrating this holiday season.  One such example is in Newfoundland and Labrador who take part in mummering.

What is mummering? It involves groups dressing up in costumes and often masks and travelling door to door spreading cheer.  If the mummers are welcomed into a house, they might partake in informal performances, including dance, music, jokes, or recitations.  Because the mummers are disguised, the hosts will have to guess their identity before offering them food or drink; the hosts will try many ways to get the mummers to reveal who they are, and in turn, the mummers go to great lengths to disguise their true identities.  Once guessed, the mummers will stay and visit with the hosts, before moving onto another home.

The earliest recording of mummering in Newfoundland dates to 1819, however it is likely to have taken place earlier.

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