Cosmo the Christmas Dog and Tibb’s Eve

Cosmo, the Christmas Dog

Cosmo, the Christmas Dog

There are so many wonderful things about Christmas, the smells, sights, and of course the sounds.

I keep our house filled with the sounds of the season for weeks on end, this is something I learned from my brother (and sister in law) during Christmas, there was, and is, always music, and of course smiling faces that are eager to invite you to come in and be a part of their celebration. I have another bro and sister-in-law who we visit where we spend an evening with fondue meat and veg. It is a opportunity to sit and relax and discuss the year and spend time with family, this year we will not be doing this till the 28-29 due to the hectic season. BUT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!!

Tibb’s Eve

Tibb’s Eve is growing!!  Four years ago when I was profiled in some local media and on my blog, there did not seem to be much tradition out there.  This year there was a piece in the Southern Gazette in Newfoundland.  I read the article with interest as there seems to be new geographical interest in the celebration. I appreciate the comments and will keep them for future reference.

Tibb’s Eve is an ever growing celebration of sampling, and NOT just “drink.” My Grandfather and his father and maybe before him celebrated the opportunity to relax, and the review what was ready for the season.

The best memory for me is Ken, Pop, and me going to the mall. Pop buying a present for Nan and the stop at the liquor store, finishing at the “house” to sample the “grog” and talk about all that was done and ready for the season. Dried fish, veg, home-made brew, backed caked and purity syrup all part of the season. Pop is gone, but not his memories and he day that he held dear. Tibbs Eve will always be a day of observance; I look forward to the sampling and the smells.

Cosmo the Christmas Dog!!

Cosmo at Home in our Hearts

Cosmo at Home in our Hearts

Lisa and I have been talking, debating, and researching if we should get a dog. We have, in the past, had to “gift” our cat, Fergus, to a neighbour.  Kaegan could not be around Furgus,  as he has allergies. This year, this week, (actually) we took a chance, and now, we have a dog – a puppy!!! COSMO!!. A spirited animal who has already won our hearts, and my heart was the most difficult to break. Not that I despise animals, but I had to sign on to the idea of getting up 2:30 am to let him out and maybe 5:30am again. I just got out of that a few years ago when I was blessed with a boy and a girl (getting up early), but now they are 9 and 11 and getting independent. I guess I will get used to it as he is adorable!! Loved the chance to spend time with my children in the wee hours of the morning, but this time with a puppy, so I guess I will do so again.

Christmas Wishes

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to visit, blog, link, share any of my writings. Social media is exciting and allowing those, including me, the opportunity to showcase everything going on in our region and of course pass comment on it. I would like to thank Margaret Ayad of Baccalieu Consulting for the commitment to the town of Bay Roberts, and being a friend to me and Delaney’s Rant and my food blog Just a Foodie justafoodie.wordpress.com . I would also like to thank those who followed the blog since 2007.  It is appreciated; it is simple but spirited… like my friends!

Waiting for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, and most of us have our preparations finished and are waiting for the big day to arrive. We are not 100% ready at our house, but we are as close as we have ever been, just a couple extension cords and a great deal of wrapping and we are good to go. These short days before Christmas are literally the shortest as winter begins in two days. Winter and Winter Solstice begins on December 22, the days will start to get longer which is also a reason for celebration. The next few days will be taken up with last minute preparations and exploring new and exciting ways to celebrate the coming of winter and the Christmas season.
I like to research Christmas and winter traditions and with the internet there are an abundance of websites and information for the curious to explore.
One of the most interesting historical significant discoveries for me surrounding the Winter Solstice happened while visiting Ireland in 2009. I have heard of The Pyramids and Stonehenge, but not of New Grange. After hearing about the how it was constructed and the reason for it, it instilled in me another dimension into the coming of winder and what it meant to those who came before us many thousands of years ago. Below is a segment of a blog I posted a couple years ago regarding the relevance of New Grange and Winter Solstice. (Modified for this post)

New Grange

New Grange - Aerial View

New Grange - Aerial View

Winter Solstice happens on December 22nd, a date that has major historical significance to the people who observed the 22st-23rd of December. New Grange was constructed by a farming community over 5000 years ago making it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids.
An ancient temple, it was a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest. The most interesting piece to this is that it was only illuminated around the Winter Solstice. During December 19th – 23rd the sun was positioned to allow the sun’s rays into its narrow chamber. This year almost 39,000 persons registered for a lottery selection process that would allow the winners entry into the chamber. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to crawl through the narrow passage way (which was nerve racking) and stand where this took place. It was amazing to be there, I look forward to the opportunity to visit again someday.

Christmas and the Web

One of the places where I seek Christmas is on the internet; there are thousands of websites dedicated to all things Christmas.  Below are some of the top sites I like to visit, please take the opportunity to visit and explore.

This site is jam packed with Christmas, if you have a question or need to do research, this is the place to go.

Click here for the world’s largest online community, forums, blogs, traditions and much more

Atlantic Canadian information at its best, if you are looking for information on events and happenings in our part of the world, this is site for you. Click now to hear Jimmy Rankin’s new Christmas song “Tinseltown”. Stephanie Beaumont profiled Bay Roberts and our Festival of Lights last week!!

Internet radio at its finest, especially during Christmas, regardless of your musical preference you will find what you are looking for here.

Christmas preparations, planning and not stressing are all part of Susan’s Philosophy for celebrating life and Christmas. I happened on one of her Christmas books years ago and have been a huge fan ever since.

I hope you find the time to explore these sites and feel free to share with family and friends. I am looking forward to the break and spending time with those I love.

Two Other Items

I would like to leave you with two other items.

  • This recording of the Christmas Bird, sent by my friend Fabian James back in 2007.  I have been meaning to post this in a blog but has always forget.  I hope it brings a smile to your face; I know I had a good laugh
  • My recipe for a “Warm Tuna Dip” this is my “go to” dip when I crave comfort food I hope you  enjoy.

Warm Tuna Dip

1 ¼       cups miracle whip

1 cup    Monterey Jack Cheese

1\2 cup Mozzarella or Cheddar

2          tins of tuna

1 tsp.    Mustard

1 tsp.    Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp.   Garlic power

½ tsp.   Oregano

Set the Mozzarella aside for topping

Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl, stir until mixture is consistent, fold into a baking dish, top with mozzarella and bake for 20-25 min on 325 degrees.

Serve with veggies or crackers and enjoy!!

Christmas with Mummers

I have to admit, we have it pretty good here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We do not have tornadoes or major hurricanes; we do not have a high crime rate and there is almost zero % pollution. We do have rain, drizzle and fog and on this end of the island, as we say, “the east wind would almost cut you in two”.

Our weather and living on an island in the North Atlantic helps shape us into the people we are, proud of traditions and way of life. This is depicted in our songs and stories which are linked to the sea. Our traditions are also linked with our ancestors who sailed here hundreds of years ago to seek out a new life… a better life. Our ancestors came from England, Ireland, and France primarily. Each with their own traditions, including food, music and dance, all these traditions became more prevalent around Christmas time.

Tradition of Mummering or Jannying

One tradition that has etched its way into our Christmas culture is the practice of Mummering (or where I am from, Riverhead, Hr. Grace, it is called Jannying).  Mummers, for those who are not familiar with this practice,  are people dressed in disguise and who visit your home during Christmas, knock on your door and ask “any mummers allowed in”? or “any Jannies allowed in”?

Last week, the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation held a “Grand Old Christmas Time.”  Mummers made an appearance at the  Time, much to the enjoyment of everyone.  The music playing in the background is  The Mummers Song, written by Bud Davidage, and recorded by Simani. The song, written in 1984, is a Christmas classic in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Once invited inside they will sing and or dance and will expect a drink, usually some sort of alcohol was given. We were given home brew (homemade beer), most of the houses had large blue barrels next to their oil or woodstoves, I guess a good place for fermentation.

Childhood Memories of Jannies

As a child , growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s I was mortified of Jannies, I use to hear my relatives talk about good and bad Jannies , as a result , in my mind they were all bad, especially the hobby horse. The hobby horse usually was the last Jannie to enter the house; I could remember scooting in the room as fast as I could when I heard the SLAP of its mouth.

Maggie and Kaegan with Hobby Horse

When I got older, the concept of Mummering grew on me, and eventually we joined the ranks of the people of the community who kept this tradition going.

Last fall, Dale Jarvis who works as the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, conducted a workshop on “How to Build a Hobby Horse” at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre.

Meggie, Kaegan, and I attended and constructed a family Hobby Horse.

Mummering Around the World

Although Mummering is practiced all over the world, there are different adaptations to the movement. I had the opportunity to travel to Dingle Ireland and while there discovered their traditional drew for Mummering was nothing like ours. They dresses in straw, with large straw hats, and one gentleman told me of a practice of jumping through fires with the costume on.

Mummers in Ireland

Mummers in Ireland

 

As in Ireland, other countries celebrate this age old tradition, while researching for paper years ago, I discovered in one form or another, Mummering was celebrated in such countries like England, Wales, Belgium and the United States. In the US , many cities still have large mummers parades and performances such Philadelphia, their parade is world renowned. Some stage elaborate plays with St. George and the Turkey King (Knight) in Europe.

Mummers in Philadelphia

Mummers in Philadelphia

Mummering in Newfoundland

Mummering was disappearing in the 1990’s and 2000’s with the exception of pockets of rural Newfoundland and Labrador communities. The movement got a shot in the arm with the formation of the Mummers Festival in St. John’s.

St. John's Mummers Festival

St. John's Mummers Festival

This award winning festival has grown since its inception and is now a major part of the Holiday season in Newfoundland and Labrador. With workshops and events, and the Mummers Parade (taking place this Saturday) the traditions of Newfoundland Mummering is in good hands. If in St. John’s this Saturday, please drop by and watch, or get involved, they would love to have you involved in this tradition. For more info on the parade visit http://mummersfestival.ca/ .

Signs of Christmas

Christmas Illumination Park

December is here and so are the signs of Christmas in Bay Roberts. Our preparations are into full swing, Our Christmas Pavilion is decorated (thanks Lois, Bill, Sandra and Agnes!!) The Light Park is up and running with 5 new additions, the largest nativity collection east of Montreal is on display, and as of December 7th ,the Road to Yesterday Museum will open with all the splendor of Christmas past to explore. Bay Roberts is a community full of pride and enthusiasm especially during Christmas.

Santa Claus Parade

Last Saturday we had an amazing Santa Claus Parade, the number of floats, dancers, mummers, and musical groups keep growing. Thousands line the route of the parade , all of them in the Christmas mood and anxiously awaiting a glimpse of the big fellow, Santa himself!!.

Santa Claus

For those of you who will be in the vicinity of Bay Roberts, plan to take the time to come see our community, visit with Lois at our Christmas Pavilion. She can help plan a tour of our community or inform you of all the activities that will be taking place this year. You could also go to www.bayroberts.com and click our calendar or listen to 88.5 our tourism radio station (will be launched for the season next week).

Spiritual Connection

When first designing the Festival of Lights the main focus for the project was to promote all the events in Bay Roberts into a concise package. We all know it difficult to schedule our time everyday, but for some this intensifies during the holidays. We also wanted to ensure everyone in the community knew when religious events took place, this proved useful for the residents but as well for those new to the community or just visiting.

Reason for the Season

The real reason for the season plays a major roll in our planning the Festival. We have formed many wonderful relationships with our religious community , one of which I am very proud of is our national award winning Christmas Nativity Set display. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints have been wonderful partners in promoting the true meaning of Christmas. Please take the time to visit their church on Central Street and see this display, you will not be disappointed.

Live Nativity

This year we are pleased to have the Salvation Army present a “Live Nativity” for two evenings, (December 21-22). These two events will certainly get us in the mood to celebrate the coming of the Christ child. Captain Morgan Hillier was very excited about the evening and informed me that there will even be live animals in the stable to greet baby Jesus. It all starts 6 pm at the Salvation Army Citadel on Water Street.

Christmas sites you will not want to miss

Here are some of the events you will not want to miss this Christmas!!

Nativity Set collection , nightly 6-9 until December 11

“Victorian Christmas Tea” , Road to yesterday Museum December 14th 2:30pm

“The Nutcracker” (2 shows!!) Amalgamated Academy Dec 17, 7pm and Dec 18 3pm

Live Nativity, Salvation Army Citadel Dec 21 and 22 , 6pm

Community Carol Sing, Christmas Pavilion Dec 19, 7pm

These are just a few of the events going on in Bay Roberts this season, I would be remiss if I did not mention our friends in Port de Grave. Their annual boat lighting is beautiful and so unique to Newfoundland and Labrador. Good luck to the residents and organizers of Harbour Grace as they start a tradition of boat lighting this Christmas, I will be visiting!!!

Port de Grave boats at Christmas

Port de Grave Boats at Christmas

My last promotion comment is more of a thank you to the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation. This week we presented ‘A Grand Ole Christmas Time” , it was a evening based on a old time Christmas concert with stories, songs, mummers and tea. I was proud to be apart of this evening and from all accounts those who went had a wonderful time.

Ok it is time for me to stop this tourism promotion as it is a private blog, but I can’t help being proud of the accomplishments of the people of Bay Roberts and surrounding areas, we have a great deal to be thankful for.

Scarlet Ribbons

A number of clips from the Grand Old Christmas Time are on YouTube.  I was very happy to sing “Scarlet Ribbons.”  Glenn Roach accompanied me on guitar.