Dancing With Mummers


29FD0B3D1D114FFA99E89EE23B31906B[1]The mummer “dolls” caught my eye as we ferried to Newfoundland. I’d once read about the Mummer’s parade in Philadelphia, but Newfies are a whole other mummer. These come at Christmas time, like carolers, except their faces are covered, and instead of beautiful costumes they dress for laughs—big bras outside their clothes, padded backsides, fishing boots, jingly noise-makers on  sticks. They ask “any mummers ‘lowed in?” and proceed to entertain with jokes and music. Their hosts try to guess which friend is cavorting beneath the padding and mask as they diddle (dance) with their odd guests. Finally the mummers are offered food and drink before they move along to the next victims.F6A8CA78E26441CDBA6C7F38947EC187[1]
I was enchanted by the idea, so when I saw that there would be a mummer party as part of St. Anthony’s annual Iceberg Festival, I made sure we got a table at the café. Two men 3F6F8C035F60444ABCB214B5D8211578[1]played a guitar and accordion and sang traditional Newfie music through dinner, and picked up the beat when the mummers appeared. When one of these visitors asked me to dance, the pent-up energy from ten days sitting in a pickup gushed out, and I jumped around and carried on like a hyped-up mummer groupie. I didn’t kiss the hag though. I noticed that most people did, but my lips just weren’t going there.


About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.

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