Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Any mummers lowed in?

Its pretty fair to say that I'm more than just a little homesick the past few days. If I was home tonight, I'd be out mummering with my sisters.

Mummering or Jannying has been a tradition in Newfoundland since colonists from England brought the custom over in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Mummer comes from the old French ‘momer’ which means to wear a mask; pantomime. In particular, it refers to a masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival.

Christmas revellers disguise themselves with old clothing and cover their faces with a hood, scarf or mask and go from house to house in their community sometime during the twelve nights of Christmas.

Mummers usually carry musical instruments so they can entertain; sing and dance in the houses they visit. In exchange for a cup of grog and a bit of Christmas cake of course. Then a great guessing game ensues as everyone tries to guess the identities of the mummers. if guessed correctly, the mummers remove their masks, if not they can keep them on.


  1. Could that be a Jewish mummer on the left? It looks like she's wearing a tallit (Jewish shawl). You sure have strange, fun traditions over there.

  2. Now that is really wild! Thanks, I learned something new today.

  3. This kind of post is what makes me love blogging and reading blogs so much

  4. If you played the harp and had a tail you'd be a mummer-maid. Tee hee hee!

  5. Interesting post - must be hard to eat cake while keeping your identity disguised, tho

  6. I am so glad you visited my blog because now I am visitings yours as a result! I have NEVER heard of mummering. I know almost nothing about Newfoundland. I have got to visit your blog more! This is fascinating. I live in Texas, United States.