Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mummers in the Schools - a Legacy Activity

Earlier this year, the Provincial Historic Commemorations Board designated the Christmas tradition of mummering and janneying as as a Distinctive Cultural Tradition or Practice of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As part of that commemoration, the province set aside funds for some type of Legacy Activity project which would promote the tradition.

We started off with a series of questions. We all know what mummers look and sound like, but there’s much more to it than dressing up and dancing around. What do mummers do? What is a hobby horse? Where do mummers come from? What are the best ways to disguise yourself? And does the current generation of students, particularly urban students, know much about the tradition at all?

With those thoughts in mind, HFNL's ICH office sponsored a Mummers in the School program as part of the 2011 Mummers Festival ( The program is designed for grades 4-6, and this year is lead by Ryan Davis, who is the coordinator of the annual festival.

All this week, Ryan has been touring schools in St. John's, Goulds, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip's with a slide show on mummering, his own hobby horse, and a tickle trunk of mummers costumes to get kids excited about this old Newfoundland tradition. Kids (and teachers) have been given a chance to dress up and give their classmates a chance to guess who is under that old lace tablecloth.

Feeling left out? No problem, the Mummers Parade is this Saturday, and we want YOU to be in it, in costume! See you there!

Some comments so far:

Hi Dale, I just wanted to send you an email to say Thank you for setting up the presentation for today. The kids and teachers absolutely loved it. It was very well done and interesting. Tell Ryan how much we enjoyed it!!! Thanks again.
Krista Molloy, Larkhall Academy

Thanks for an interesting and timely presentation for our students.Ron Parrott, Principal, Larkhall Academy

Thanks so very much!! Great sessions today! The kids are so very excited.
Several want to go home and make a hobby horse, including a few teachers!!
Thanks again!

Jill Moores, Paradise Elementary

The photos below are from Larkhall Academy in St. John's:

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