Mummers on Parade

    Saturday, Dec. 10th is the much anticipated Mummers Parade in St. John’s. To mark this colourful and spirited event, here is some reading material from our collection in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies that gives a fuller picture of the mummering (or mumming) tradition. It is mentioned as early as 1819 in Lewis Anspach’s A History of the Island of Newfoundland as a tradition that “prevails in some parts of Newfoundland, though not with general approbation”. The first substantial academic work was Christmas Mumming in Newfoundland edited by Herbert Halpert and G. M Story in 1969. The tradition has been a topic for numerous theses, including Margaret Robertson’s M.A. thesis The Newfoundland mummers' Christmas house-visit. A more recent academic study was done by Diane Tye. "At home and away: Newfoundland mummers and the transformation of difference" appeared in Material Culture Review in 2008. Reminiscences of the mummering tradition can be found in Don Ryan’s article "Rambling with Ryan: Old-Time Christmas customs recalled" in the December 1957 issue of The Atlantic Guardian. Enjoy the mummers on parade!