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Newfoundland Mummer Story

Newfoundland has many folk traditions but few have achieved the cultural cachet of mummering.  Mummering (or janneying, depending on the bay your family comes from) is a Christmas tradition that involves people dressing in bizarre costumes and travelling house-to-house drinking, dancing and celebrating in the days following Christmas.  A band of mummers would knock on the door and ask, using a disguised voice, to be let in. Once inside they didn't speak. It was the host's job to try to guess the mummer's identity. Mummering was entertainment but not necessarily always a lot of fun. For some people, especially children, it was a little scary.  That's not too hard to imagine as the whole game involved mysterious strangely-dressed adults acting...unusually. For many of us, it's hard to appreciate what it was really like, though.  Newfoundland mummering tradition thrived in small isolated communities so, while you may not have known a mummers specific identity, you cou

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I don't need last names to know who Toni-Marie and Eddie are, and I can find my way from Happy Adventure to Misery Point in the fog. My morning comes a half hour earlier and any day without ‘RDF’ is good. I’ve seen a mummer, tasted toutons and the word Dildo might conjure a different image for me than you because I’m a product of this place.

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