Americas

'Mummers' making a comeback

Published 10:06 PM ET, Thu December 15, 2016
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Sarah Ferguson and her dog Frank stand in traditional mummer dress in St. John's, Newfoundland. Mummering involves getting dressed up in disguise using anything one can scavenge -- curtains, lampshades, old clothing -- before going unannounced to neighbors' homes for impromptu kitchen parties. The centuries-old Christmas tradition all but disappeared in Newfoundland and Labrador, but a new generation is starting to revive it, according to photographer Darren Calabrese. Darren Calabrese
Dorothy Fowler poses in St. John's. Newfoundland's first-ever Mummers Festival was born in 2009 and is now going into its eighth year. Darren Calabrese
Christine Legrow was particularly proud of the pie plate she tied on top of her lampshade to keep the rain off. Darren Calabrese
David Pond holds onto his homemade "ugly stick" while posing in St. John's. The ugly stick is a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument fashioned out of regular household items -- typically a mop or broom handle with bells, bottle caps and cans to make noise. Darren Calabrese
Jonathan Caines poses in a traditional hobbyhorse costume. Darren Calabrese
Mummering originated in England and Ireland, and the earliest record of it in Newfoundland dates to 1819, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage project. Darren Calabrese
Kimberley Street poses in St. John's. Common mummering wear would be items such as rubber fishing boots and inside-out dresses. Darren Calabrese
Marie Barrett holds a Newfoundland and Labrador flag. Darren Calabrese
Wally Upward stands on his home's porch while dressed as a "ribbon fool." Darren Calabrese
Marcia Lawson wears "ribbon fool" attire. A ribbon fool is a prankster in traditional mummering. Darren Calabrese
A man wears a traditional mummer's outfit during a screeching-in ceremony for tourists. The Screech-In is a ceremony where tourists can become an honorary Newfoundlander by reciting a phrase, kissing a dead fish and taking a shot of rum. Darren Calabrese