Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?

A Newfoundland Christmas tradition that features in Up She Rises is mummering. Here’s how it’s explained to Rachel:

“You’ll have to come mummering with us,” Judy said.

“Mumbling?”

She laughed. “Mummering. It’s a Christmas tradition. You disguise yourself, go round to the neighbours, put on a performance and …”

She caught my wary expression. “It’s fun, music, drinking, a bit of craic.” She turned to her husband, “Tell her Bill.”

“It’s an excuse to get hammered,” said Bill.

“It’s more than that,” chided Judy. “It’s a cultural imperative, a tradition that needs to be maintained, it’s…” She grinned. “Yeah, it’s an excuse to get hammered.”

I came across an interesting article here about how mummering is making a comeback in Newfoundland, although I don’t accept the contention that it was banned until the 1990s. How do I know ? Let’s just say I may have some personal experience of mummering in the 1980s:

 

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Jenny the Wren

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?

  1. I don’t think I remember Mummers when I lived in Newfoundland. But these traditions are very interesting. It’s a little like the ‘Wren Boys’ in Ireland which I remember very well. On Boxing Day boys dress up and go from house to house dancing, singing, and collecting change
    ” The wren the wren the king of all birds.
    On St Stephen’s day she was caught in the furze
    Up with the kettle and down with the pan
    and give us a penny to bury the wren.”
    Google it. I couldn’t manage without Google. Annie

    Like

    • When I was Jenny the Wren (in the photo) I had to say:
      “The wren the wren the queen of the birds
      On St Stephen’s Day she was caught in a furze
      She dipped her wing in a pint of beer
      And wished everyone a happy new year
      Although she is little, her honour is great
      So rise up now lads and give her a treat!”

      Like

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