Showing posts with label calendar customs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label calendar customs. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Living Heritage Podcast Ep147 The All-Purpose Holiday Special

Terra Barrett's Easter Bunny Cake, 2018
Your favourite holiday-loving folklorists are back! Dale Jarvis and Terra Barrett explore the world of calendar customs in Newfoundland and Labrador, pulling some festive audio clips from the Digital Archives Initiative.

We start with Valentine’s (or is it Valentime’s?) Day memories from Daphne Gillingham and Susan Mitchell; Claudia Earle and Nancy Knight share some somber Easter memories; Betty Rumbolt talks about her Upper Island Cove Easter buns; Peggy Snow recalls the Littledale May Walk while Shirley Ryan and Patricia Whalen reminisce on cold plate and Marysvale garden parties; Frank Beson of Windsor and Juanita Keel-Ryan of Bailey's Cove, Bonavista, light a torch for Bonfire Night; and we finish with Joan Keating and her memories of the downtown St. John’s Christmas Raffle.


The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio. Past episodes are hosted on Libsyn, and you can subscribe via iTunes, or Stitcher. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is in your pancake? Explore the history and folklore behind Pancake Day

What is Pancake Day? Where does it come from? What do you put in a pancake for Shrove Tuesday?

Listen in to find out!

As part of his Archival Moments series, Larry Dohey, then with the Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s, wrote:

Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from "to shrive," or hear confessions) or Pancake Tuesday. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.
On Shrove Tuesday, Catholics were encouraged to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. To shrive someone, in old-fashioned English (he shrives, he shrove, he has shriven or he shrives), is to hear his acknowledgement of his sins, to assure him of God's forgiveness, and to give him appropriate spiritual advice. The term survives today in ordinary usage in the expression "short shrift". To give someone short shrift is to pay very little attention to his excuses or problems. The longer expression is, "to give him short shrift and a long rope," which formerly meant to hang a criminal with a minimum of delay. 
Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.
Pancakes were a simple way to use these foods, and one that could entertain the family. Objects with symbolic value are cooked in the pancakes, and those who eat them, especially children, take part discovering what their future will be as part of the meal.
The person who receives each item interprets the gift according to the tradition: a coin means the person finding it will be rich; the thimble finder will be a seamstress or tailor, a pencil stub means he/she will be a teacher; a holy medal means they will join a religious order; a nail that they will be (or marry) a carpenter, and so on.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What is Tibb's Eve? Drink up, Newfoundland and Labrador, it's December 23rd.

Merry Tibb's Eve all!

What is Tibb's Eve? And where does Tibb's Eve come from? We've got you covered!

Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians don't need much of an excuse to have a party. One of the most inventive local reasons might be Tibb's (or Tib's, or Tipsy) Eve.

For those of you who don't know what Tibb's Eve is, in Newfoundland, it is the eve of Christmas Eve, and it has a somewhat complicated history that is both old and new. 

Originally, St. Tibb was a character in English plays of the 17th century. A "tibb" in those times was a woman of loose morals, so Saint Tibb was a comedic character, intended to represent an impossible contradiction. Since St. Tibb couldn't exist, St. Tibb's Eve was a day that would never come. Owe someone money? Promise to pay them back on Tibb's Eve, and no problem!

At some point, Tibb's Eve became associated with the Christmas season, as in "a day that occurred neither before nor after Christmas" or "a day between the old year and the new."

Image: Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word Form Slips - Tibb's Eve

Newfoundlanders, perhaps looking for a reason to enjoy a drink during the abstemious season of Advent, inserted this day-that-would-not-come into their personal calendars. Somewhere on the south coast of the island, sometime after WWII, the day got fixed to December 23rd. 

In the 1960s and '70s, the expression still largely meant a day that wouldn't come, but in the '80s and '90s, the day of celebratory Pre-Christmas lubrication became more popular. Circa 2009-2010, St. John's bars and arts organizations introduced the idea of Tibb's Eve events to townies. With the rise of social media, the concept took off, and ex-pat Newfoundlanders spread the cheer wherever they were hunkered down for an away Christmas. 

Thirsty for more? There are a few places online you can look for more details:

In the mood for a suitable libation for Tibb's Eve? Why not try Charles Dickens's Own Punch, from 1847:
Peel into a very common basin (which may be broken in case of accident, without damage to the owner's peace or pocket) the rinds of three lemons, cut very thin and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit, attached. Add a double handful of lump sugar (good measure [although Dickens had rather small hands]), a pint of good old rum, and a large wine-glass of good old brandy‹if it be not a large claret glass, say two. Set this on fire, by filling a warm silver spoon with the spirit, lighting the contents at a wax taper, and pouring them gently in. Let it burn three or four minutes at least, stirring it from time to time. Then extinguish it by covering the basin with a tray, which will immediately put out the flame. Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons, and add a quart of boiling water. Stir the whole well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again.
Enjoy the day! Have a memory of Tibb's Eve, or call it something different? Comment below!

- Dale Gilbert Jarvis

(last updated, Tibb's Eve 2020!)