Old Christmas Day and the Mummers (Jannies)

Hey all!!! Happy Old Christmas Day to you and your families.  Even though the day might be met with a sense of melancholy for some, and I guess for some it comes and goes with out evening knowing, which is sad. Old Christmas Day for me is a day to soak the last little bit of the Christmas season so I will have plenty for the rest of the year. Traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador are huge, and some of which includes the visitation of the Mummers or in certain areas are called Jannies. It is a huge part of our culture and has probably been brought to us from our English and Irish ancestors. In this blog I will talk about the Jannies and as well the history of Old Christmas Day according to my research.

 Mummers (Jannies)   

Mummers have been a huge part of Newfoundland culture for a very long time. I can remember the anticipation of the bang on the door, sometimes I was so afraid as I did not know who was coming, but we knew soon enough the visit would mean singing and music for a short time, it was a great way to go to sleep, after we stole a look to try to see who there were. Mr. Andy Short and group were the most anticipated group of mummers, I use to be so nervous, but excited at the same time, I would almost jump out of my skin when I saw the hobby horse, it was frightening, I was not sure if it was going to get me. I would love to see it again, maybe the family still has it somewhere.

The mummer movement is celebrated all over the world, each country celebrates it in many different was. The largest celebration is probably in Philadelphia, they have a huge mummers parade with thousands of dollars of prizes, there is a great deal of info on their site http://mummers.com. Apparently the practice of mummers goes back of over 400 BC.

During my research I found over 14 countries that celebrate some form mummering.

I am hoping that Bay Roberts will actually host a festival based on mummers, I think Newfoundland and Labrador celebrates it best!!

 Old Christmas Day Old Christmas Day is celebrated in many ways, parties, mummers visitations, and of course church. The date in the church calendar is the day of Epiphany whish is a Greek word meaning appearance; it is the night that the Wisemen witnessed Jesus for the first time.“ The observance of Epiphany actually goes back farther than the observance of Christmas. It was known to have been celebrated before 194 AD, while the observance of the Nativity, in the form of Christmas, did not actually catch on until the 4th century AD.” (http://www.telliquah.com/OldXmas.htm )”

Please take a look at the above link, I found it amazing as the history of the day was new news for me.

I love everything about the season and I love Old Christmas Day, thank you so much for reading my Christmas blogs and I hope you read and pass on my other blogs throughout the year.

God Bless




3 thoughts on “Old Christmas Day and the Mummers (Jannies)

  1. Ron,

    Great stuff!! I too celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas!! As difficult as it is these days. It is funny how for a month radio stations will play Christmas hymns and music but will cease doing so after Christmas Day! Even though they playt and sing about the 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!!!!

    Anyway I digress. Another site you may want to visit would be: http://www.cresourcei.org/cyepiph.html

    To all my Othodox friends Merry Christmas as Old Christmas Day is their Christmas.

    Blessings to All,


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