Tag Archives: mummers

Christmas merriment


The meaning of Christmas is elusive. For some it’s a season of consumer extravaganzas and a boon for business. For others it’s profoundly religious. In places it’s fallen prey to partisan and tribal chicanery. It can be a time of happiness, angst or peace. Even the date of Jesus’s birth is elusive: December 25 is celebrated, but theological and scholarly debates rage over evidence of a spring birth. Then there’s the ongoing speculation that early Christians designated Christmas to co-opt long-established Saturnalia and solstice rituals.

To almost all of this I say, ‘bah,’ to all humbugs. Christmas is –indisputably — a historic, storied and rich tradition. And as with all traditions we residents of this globalized and multicultural world can choose, consciously, how to commemorate it. From my own northern perch in Canada, I relish the promise of longer days following the Dec. 21 winter solstice, and bask in the glow of Christmas lights on the dark, dark nights. I enjoy some seasonal music and the glitzy clash of colours. I respect the significance of Christmas to my religious friends. But most of all, I cherish Christmas as a time to exchange a happy cheer — “Merry Christmas!” — with total strangers on the street, neighbours, friends, and family.

Facts and Opinions is now on our annual break, with a reduced schedule until we return January 8th. We leave you with photos by Greg Locke, from the annual Mummer’s Parade and Pub Crawl in St John’s, Newfoundland, earlier this month. (This provides the best view.) We trust that you’ll find many other stories worthy of your holiday reading time in the trove we offer, from our latest Contents, to the overflowing vaults in our Reports,  Opinion-Features, and Photo-essay sections. Thank you for your interest and support for our work in 2015.

— Deborah Jones 


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The Newfoundland Mummers

The Mummers Parade by Greg Locke

As the year ends and winter gets a grip in the Northern latitudes, many cultures mark the passing of another year and the coming of winter with annual religious and folk festivals and events. In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the remote and isolated coastal fishing villages long held on to traditions brought from England and Ireland. A mix of ancient Celtic, Pagan and Anglo-Saxon rituals merged with Christianity and the celebration of Christmas. One of those traditions, Mummering, has enjoyed a cultural revival in urban areas in recent years. Check out Greg Locke’s slide/sound presentation, Mummers The Word, from this year’s annual Mummers Parade in St. John’s, Newfoundland. (Subscriber-only content.)

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