He we come a-jan­ney­ing

Car­bon­ear to host pa­rade of mum­mers, kitchen party

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

It’s time to get out your rub­ber boots, hand­ker­chiefs, over­sized clothes and any un­der­gar­ments you may find suit­able, be­cause there’s a jan­ney­ing pa­rade in Car­bon­ear.

For a num­ber of years there have been ru­mours res­i­dents of the town were go­ing to step up and host the first of its kind in the re­gion.

“This was a long term idea,” or­ga­nizer and town deputy mayor Frank Butt ex­plained. “It goes back to five or six years ago. The idea of a jan­ney­ing pa­rade was al­ways there.”

Jan­ney­ing, or mum­mer­ing, is when a group of peo­ple get dressed up and dis­guise them­selves. They then go to dif­fer­ent houses to dance, tell a few tales or even play mu­sic. Tra­di­tion­ally, the jan­neys couldn’t get of­fered a drink or food un­til their iden­ti­ties were guessed cor­rectly. Typ­i­cally, the prac­tice would take place dur­ing the 12 days of Christ­mas.

Jan­ney­ing has been in New­found­land since the 19th cen­tury, but in re­cent years, it has died down.

Many chil­dren in the past few decades have been in­stilled with the belief that they’re not sup­posed to talk to strangers. Since a mum­mer’s face is cov­ered, not know- ing who some­one is and invit­ing them into your house could be un­set­tling for some.

But an or­ga­nized event could al­low more peo­ple to take in the tra­di­tion, and ex­pe­ri­ence it with­out the neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions.

Butt said the in­ten­tion of the pa­rade is to bring out lo­cals from all over the area, and al­low them the op­por­tu­nity to get fa­mil­iar with the tra­di­tion of jan­ney­ing.

“About two years ago we could see that some­thing needed to be done to keep the tra­di­tion of jan­ney­ing alive,” Butt said. “What bet­ter way to do it than to do it in an area that has so much po­ten­tial.”

He was talk­ing about Wa­ter Street in down­town Car­bon­ear, which has a rich his­tory of its own — Rorke’s Store, the Stone Jug and the many Vic­to­rian-style homes nearby. There will also be live mu­sic dur­ing the pa­rade.

Butt spoke with sev­eral peo­ple who he be­lieved might be in­ter­ested in set­ting up a com­mit­tee to make the pa­rade hap­pen this past sum­mer.

Robert Thornhill, a lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher who had taken shots of mum­mers and jan­neys last year, was first to sign on. Next was Coun. Bill Bowman, who comes from a fam­ily of folk mu­si­cians. Round­ing out the group were lo­cal down­town business owner and artist Natalie Austin, Florence But­ton, Char­lene Sud­brink and Linda Saun­ders.

It wasn’t long be­fore the com­mit­tee be­gan meet­ing at the Knights of Colum­bus to brain­storm.

“There were so many ideas be­ing thrown around dur­ing our first meet­ing,” Butt said.

Ear­lier this fall, the an­nounce­ment was made that the pa­rade was given the green light, and support started rolling in.

“It’s not just peo­ple from Car­bon­ear, it’s all over,” Butt ex­plained.

All of those in­volved with the pa­rade are vol­un­teers — com­mit­tee mem­bers, per­form­ers and par­tic­i­pants.

The pa­rade will be­gin at 7 p.m. at Har­bour Rock Hill on Satur­day, Dec. 20, in front of the Sal­va­tion Army Ci­tadel. It will be fol­lowed by hot choco­late, Pu­rity syrup and fruit cake — three sta­ples for jan­ney­ing — at the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre at 8 p.m.

At 9 p.m., an adults-only kitchen party will be­gin at the Knights of Colum­bus on Ade­laide Street, with a DJ, then live mu­sic.

“It will let peo­ple wind down a lit­tle,” Butt ex­plained. “Why not come, de-stress with the fam­ily, the kids or alone.”

Butt said all who want to par­tic­i­pate in the pa­rade are wel­come. Chil­dren must be su­per­vised by a par­ent. Out­fits can be lit up, but no open flames will be al­lowed.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

A fa­mil­iar theme around the bay for pa­rades is tra­di­tional mum­mers or jan­neys, like th­ese four from Old Per­li­can. Car­bon­ear will open its down­town streets for a jan­ney­ing pa­rade Dec. 20 to folks just like th­ese ones.

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