top of page

About Us

The Mummers Festival is a participant-focused, community-based festival that encourages the celebration of mummering traditions. Each year, the Mummers Festival hosts events over the last week of November, and the first two weeks of December leading up to its crowning event, the Mummers Parade. Workshops, public forums with mummer experts, lectures and school programming act as educational and momentum-building events for the big Parade Day. Participants can build a jaw-snapping hobby horse or learn how to play their own homemade ugly stick. Audiences meet mummer experts (those long-term, experienced locals who have been mummering for decades) and receive first-hand knowledge about the many intricacies of this tradition.


"Where foolish is the new normal, underwear

is outerwear, and a curtain is more than just a curtain."


The Mummer Parade draws out families and friends of various backgrounds and ages who dress in mummer disguises and parade through the streets. For this one day, everyone is a mummer with the freedom to act out in fun and surprising ways. The Mummers Festival successfully taps into one of the most important elements of the mummering tradition: social bonding. Like many other Christmas traditions, mummering brings together families, friends and strangers alike to create a sense of community. The Mummers Festival and Parade is the biggest celebration of this 300 year old tradition. It is the newly veiled face of mummering working to keep cultural identity alive and strong.

learn more about the history of the mummers festival

Ryan Davis was the founding Executive Director of the Mummers Festival back in 2009, when it was envisioned as a folklore project. Check out our video with Ryan and learn about how we've grown over 15 years!


Our History

The Mummers Festival was initially a joint initiative with the Intangible Cultural Heritage division of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University’s Folklore Department. The initiative began in 2009 with the intention of passing along a well-researched model to a community group who would continue organizing the Mummers Festival. That year, the Festival included 16 free community events throughout the month of December. In 2010 a Mummers Festival community group was established and run entirely by volunteers. In 2011, the Mummers Festival incorporated as a nonprofit entity. The Festival is celebrating is 15th anniversary in 2023.

Our Mandate

To produce festivals for the purpose of education, charity, cultural promotion, community engagement and advancement of the public’s understanding and appreciation of Newfoundland and Labrador folk traditions related to mummering and Christmastime practices; and to assist in the transmission of these folk traditions through participation by the public and tradition-bearers in such festivals and related forums, lectures, workshops, performances and public events.

Our Goal

The Mummers Festival aims to promote the continuance and evolution of traditional arts and performance by encouraging active participation in mummering activities. All events are designed to equip the public with skills and knowledge about mummering so that they can better participate in our Parade day events and, it is hoped, the house-visiting traditions that occur during the twelve days of Christmas.


Conserving culture

The Mummers Festival was guided by principles of cultural conservation and intangible cultural heritage and influenced by folklife festival models, known for their ethnographic approach to planning. The goal is to see traditions live. Each year, the Festival creates new opportunities to pass along traditional skills and knowledge. A folklife festival model attempts to achieve the goals of cultural understanding and cultural transmission as encouraged by UNESCO’s policies on intangible cultural heritage. At the heart of the Mummers Festival is the aspiration to represent, celebrate, and inspire the transmission of collective cultural knowledge in a grassroots way.

Mummers Parades

in newfoundland


Since the Mummers Festival's beginning in 2009, 12 other communities in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador have started their own mummers parades or walks. For a tradition that is supposedly “dying out”, mummer-themed community events help reinvigorate mummering and ensure that youth are exposed to the finer details and actions of the tradition. Our Festival inspires other communities to take ownership of their own traditions and make them relevant for the next generation.


What is Intangible

Cultural Heritage?


Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) describes, among other things, our stories, holidays, community gatherings, culinary arts, rituals, songs and languages. We have long thought of heritage as tangible things (like our buildings, our furniture, our clothing) that have been handed down to us, and that we can preserve in our homes, museums and historic sites. However, many communities and peoples around the world recognize that this is only a part of what makes up their heritage, and that intangible ideas, customs and knowledge are equally important for cultural identity.


Generated in-and held collectively by-members of a community, such knowledge is dynamic. It is transmitted across generations and shaped anew as each generation innovates, experiments and adapts to changing social norms and values. Specifc ICH processes and practices include oral traditions, customs, drama, languages, music, dance, celebrations, and special skills needed to create and use tools and crafts that emerge from the local habitat and economy. Mummering is a type of traditional drama and considered to be a form of intangible cultural heritage.


What is a Folklife Festival?

Described as an exposition of intangible cultural heritage, a folklife festival is just one way to help encourage the celebration of traditions and recognize tradition-bearers. A folklife festival strives to provide the opportunity for people of varying backgrounds to come together and explore the many aspects of particular traditions. A folklife festival attempts to achieve the goals of cultural understanding and cultural transmission, as encouraged by UNESCO’s policies on intangible cultural heritage (ICH).


Since 1967 the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington has been producing an annual folklife festival and has served as a model of a research-based exposition of intangible cultural heritage. They describe their folklife festival as “an exercise in cultural democracy, in which cultural practitioners speak for themselves, with each other, and to the public.” The Mummers Festival is an attempt to model the Smithsonian’s methodology and approach but with due attention to the differences in context.


At the heart of a folklife festival is the aspiration to represent collective cultural knowledge. This approach encourages the free and informed participation of community members and tradition-bearers who, it is hoped, will play a central role in the shape of a festival’s development and overall outcome.


A folklife festival aims to ensure traditions are renewed and kept alive. Preserving and safeguarding culture does not suggest the protection of traditions from outside forces, but rather, supports the conditions necessary for cultural reproduction. In line with cultural conservation, ICH policies encourage the sustainability of traditions by taking a natural-heritage-as-living-systems approach that seeks to sustain the whole system as a living, dynamic entity.








The Mummers Festival acts as a deeply meaningful event that celebrates the spirit of coming together with friends, family and strangers alike. In an urban setting like St. John’s with a diverse public, the Festival provides a welcoming introduction to local Christmastime customs for newcomers and visitors. Our free events make sure everyone can join in.


The Mummers Festival taps into the spirit of Christmas that people long for in the face of a highly commercial time of year and conjures a sense of unique place. It is a staging ground for the expression of Newfoundland pride. Our events produce unforgettable memories and induce someimpressive natural highs.

2013 Mummers Festival!!_page-0001_edited
2012 Mummers Festival Postcard Front.tif
2018 MF Postcard Back.jpg
2018 MF Postcard Front.jpg
2023 MF Postcard Bac.png
2014 Mummers Festival Postcard Front.jpg
2011 Mummers Postcard Front.tif
2021 MF Postcard Front.png
2019 MF Postcard Front.jpg
2013 Mummers Festival Poster WEB.jpg
2019 MF Postcard Back.jpg
2020 MF Postcard Front.png
2020 MF Postcard Back.png
2012 Mummers Festival Postcard Back_page-0001.jpg
2014 Mummers Festival Postcard Back_page-0001.jpg
2015 MF Postcard Back_page-0001.jpg


Janney Film Night

Mummering Memories

Pocket Mummer Workshop

Mummering Today: a lecture

Hobby Horse and Wren Stick Workshop

Hark What’s the Noise: a display of mummer craft

“How do you mummer anyway?”: a public forum A Mummers Play Making Mummers Masks

The Philadelphia Mummers Parade: a lecture

Framing Festivals

Mini Mummers School Visits

Rig Up

Mummers Parade

Mummers Concert and Mummers Jam



Hobby Horse Workshops

Mummering Past and Present: 3 lectures

Mummers and Masks: a mummers film

Rig Up

Mummers Parade

Mummers Concert and Jam



Hobby Horse Workshops

Mini Mummers School Tour

“How do you mummer anyway?”: a public forum

Ugly Stick Workshops

Visions and Visitors: Media Images of Christmas Mumming in Newfoundland Mummers and Masks: a film

Rig Up

Mummers Parade

Mummers Concert & Jam



Hobby Horse Workshops

Mummers and Murder: Reinvestigating the Death of Isaac Mercer

Ugly Stick Workshops

Mini Mummers School Tour

“How do you mummer anyway?”: a public forum

Mummer Movies: CBC’s Land & Sea Mummers

Rig Up

Mummers Parade

Mummers Parade Concert and

Mummers Jam



Hobby Horse Workshops
Box and Bird Mask Workshop
Ugly Stick Workshops
Mini Mummers School Tour
Newfoundland Mummers Play and Pocket Mummers
A Night of Mummering with Northern Ireland’s Armagh Rhymers
Mumming in Northern Ireland: a doc and talk with the Armagh Rhymers
Armagh Rhymers at the Inn of Olde: a night of performance, music, and recitation
Rig Up
Mummers Parade
Mummers Scuff ‘n’ Scoff


Ugly Stick Workshops

Music and Mummering

Hobby Horse Workshops

Any Mummers 'llowed In?

Janneys on the Big Screen

Mummer Mask Workshop

Box and Bucket Workshop

Mummer Mask Workshops

Mummer Memory Mug Up

The Moon Shines Bright: Heart's

Delight-Islington Christmas Carols

Rig Up

Mummers Parade

Mummers Scuff 'n Scoff


Ugly Stick Workshops

Hobby Horse Workshop

Mummer Printmaking Workshop

Confessions of a Mummer

Mini-Mummers Storytime

Mummering Legends Exclusive Film Screening 

Walk This Way: Mummers, Janneys and More!

The King of All Birds: Examining the Wren Tradition

Mummer Storytelling Workshop

Mummers Jam Session

Mummers Parade

Music & Friends: The Mummers Scoff ' Scuff

Mini-Mummers School Programs


Mummer Lantern Workshops

Family Friendly Printmaking

Adult Mummer Printmaking Workshop

Hobby Horse Workshop

Close and Personal With Mummers! A 15th Anniversary Retrospective

Mummers Dance!

Muni-Mummers Story and Crafts

Ugly Stick Workshops

Mummer Ornament Family Fun Program

The Dark Side of Mummering

Exploring Mummering and House Visiting Traditions

Create Your Own Mummers Rig!

Mummers Jam Session

Mummers Parade

Music & Friends: The Mummers Scuff 'n Scoff

Mini-Mummers Schools Program


Hobby Horse Workshops
Unveiled: research and stories from “Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?”
Ugly Stick Workshops
Box and Bird Mask Workshop
Mini Mummers School Tour
Mini Mummers and Festival Fashion Nalujuk Night: a public forum

Rig Up Mummers Parade
Scuff ‘n’ Scoff
Mummers Dozen Pub Crawl



Hobby Horse and Christmas Bull Workshops Mummer Mayhem
“Fool’s Paradise”: a public forum about the NL Fool Traditions

Finding Fools: Researching NL Fool traditions

Pouch Cove’s Ribbon Rig Workshops
Mini Mummers School Tour
Ugly Stick Workshops

Ship (Hat) of Fools Workshops Rig Up
Pot ‘n’ Pan Kitchen Jam Mummers Parade

Scuff ‘n’ Scoff
Mummers Dozen Pub Crawl


Hobby Horse and Christmas Bull Workshops
Exploring a Changing Tradition: Christmas Mummering in NL
Ribbon Rig Workshops

Ugly Stick Workshops
Mini Mummers School Tour
Plankin' 'Er Down: Dance & Mummersing in NL
Mummers, Wrens & Hobbies: the Irish & NL Connection
Rig Up and Pot 'n' Pan Kitchen Jam
Mummers Parade and Scuff 'n' Scoff
Mummer Mayhem!

King of All Birds: a public forum about NL Wren Traditions

Hobby Horse and Christmas Bull Workshops
Ugly Stick Workshops
Ribbon Rig Workshops
Mummer Memories Mug Up
Mini Mummers School Tour
Handcrafted Holiday Beasts
Making Mummers
Rig Up and Scuff 'n' Scoff
Mummers Parade
History of Holiday Beasts

Land & Sea Mummers

Hobby Horse Workshop
Ugly Stick Workshops

Frightening Fools
Fool's Paradise
Box & Bucket Mask Workshop
How Do You Mummer Anyway?
The Story of the Armagh Rhymers
Rig Up and Scuff 'n' Scoff
Mummers Parade
Jannies on the Big Screen 
10 Years of Mummers Festival

2020  Virtual Edition!

Virtual Mummers Parade Video Submissions

Ugly Stick Workshops

Hobby Horse Workshop

Mummer Printmaking Workshop

"What a Great Shot!" An Evening With the Mummers Parade Photographers

Artistic Mummers Kids Program

Mummering in the Auld Country: Exploring the

Mummering Traditions of Wexford County, Ireland

Comedy & Play for Mummers

Artful Mummering: A Panel Discussion on Artistic Expression & Creativity

The Nalajuit of Labrador: An Artistic Exploration & Discussion

Music & Friends: A Concert Celebrating the Mummering Tradition

Chainsaw Art: Creating a Unique Piece of Mummer Art

Virtual Mummers Rig Up

Virtual Mummers Parade

Virtual Scuff 'n Scoff


Ugly Stick Workshop

Family Printmaking

Hobby Horse Workshop

Mummer Lantern Workshop

Ribbon Fool Workshop

Mini-mummers story & Craft at the AC Hunter Library

Mummer Ornament making at The Rooms

Adult Printmaking Session

The Return of Mummers, Janneys, and More!

Fool's Paradise: Exploring the Ribbon Tradition

The Mummers Play revisited Workshop

Mummers Jam Session!

Mummers Parade

Mummers Scoff 'n Scuff

Mini-mummers school program

15 years of programming and counting!




15 years
of  Programming

“If you got a child that starts out when they’re five or six years old and they go to a Mummers Parade and then they go to a few mummers parades...well they’re probably going to get together, or say, ‘Come on Mom and Dad, let’s go mummering.’ And we’ll go to our Aunt’s and our Uncle’s and our cousins and all of our family. So that will revive it. Then when they get old enough to do it themselves, they’re going to do it, and they’re going to pass it on to their children. Because it is tradition for here.”

--Doug MacDonald, participant from Colliers, NL


2023 Mummers Festival Staff

Lynn McShane, Executive Director

Lynn volunteered as the Festival's Vice-Chair since 2014, and was delighted to 

take on the Executive Director role in 2020. Lynn has a background in English and Business Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as a Non-Profit Management Post-Graduate Diploma from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. A non-profit professional with over 20 years’ experience in the arts and culture, health care and education sectors, Lynn's past roles include Manager of Grants & Scholarships with Education Matters (Calgary, AB);  Manager of Volunteer Resources at the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB); and Development Associate with the Calgary Health Trust. Back home in her beloved Newfoundland since 2013, she enjoys being involved in the local historical and cultural sector, including providing exhibit and performance content for the Admiralty House Communication Museum's exhibit Faces of the Florizel, as well as  performing at the St. John's Storytelling Festival. Lynn thrives on engaging people and communities, and grew up mummering with her huge family in Renews on the Southern Shore.


Kaitlyn Warren, Associate Director

​​Kaitlyn is a student at Memorial University, completing a Bachelor of Arts (hons) in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She first came to the Mummers Festival in 2017, while completing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in non-profit and social enterprise. She fell in love with the high energy and creativity at the Mummers Festival, and has returned for her sixth year in 2023. During her time at Memorial, Kaitlyn has also completed work contracts with The Terry Fox Foundation, Nickel Independent Film Festival, CBS Business Improvement Association, St. John’s Community Services, and Food Producers Forum.


Fraser Griffith, Associate Director

Fraser is a recent graduate of Memorial University, completing a Bachelor of Arts in
Archaeology with a minor in Folklore. He first
joined the Mummers Festival as a volunteer last year in 2022 while he was in school. He first became interested in Mummering while learning about it at Memorial and decided it would be a good way to learn more and get involved with the local community in St. John’s. While at Memorial, Fraser also worked for The Colony of Avalon foundation, and worked as a Research Assistant in 2022.

Photo of me.png

2023 Mummers Festival Board of Directors

mummers 2021.jpg

Terra Barrett, Chair


Terra Barrett is an Intangible Cultural Heritage Researcher with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Previously, she has worked an Education and Public Programming Officer with The Rooms, as a Public Folklorist with Heritage NL, and a Project Researcher with Them Days Inc. Terra has volunteered and worked with the Mummers Festival in several roles since 2013, and served as the ED for the 2019 festival. She holds a BA in Folklore (French minor), and a MA in Public Folklore from Memorial University as well as a Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. Terra volunteers with a number of organizations including the Mummers Festival and is particularly interested in the crafts, foodways and folk beliefs of the province. She has been parading around in oversized bras, and disguising herself for years so she comes by her love of mummering honestly.


Krista Thorne, Vice Chair


Krista joined the Mummers Festival in 2019 and has enjoyed every minute of being involved since then. She has always loved watching the parade as a bystander and seeing the Newfoundland tradition of mummering come to life with bright colors, crazy outfits, music, songs and so much fun that is liken to a big old Newfoundland kitchen party.  She is no stranger to mummering and used to participate in mummering events annually with a company she used to work with. Krista is excited to continue on with the Mummers Festival and help get the community involved in the fun filled events that make up the festival, so that all generations can continue on this special tradition that is a part of our heritage. She will definitely tell you that taking part in the events is amazing and a must do for everyone!

Krista I.jpg
Krista II.jpg

Maria Lear, Secretary


Maria joined the Mummers Festival in 2013 and absolutely loves giving her time to such a vibrant, energetic & genuine group! Having gazed in awe watching the grown-ups of her childhood family Christmas parties dancing around in long underwear, Nan's dresses & banging ugly sticks while wearing dishtowels on their faces--she could not wait to get old enough to join in the fun! For her, the annual community event of the Mummers Parade is a fantastic, free, family & friend super fun-day that fills participants, spectators and all the awesome volunteers with joyous feeling--one that truly captures the heart of the season! She feels very privileged to have a small role in helping bring this fun to her community & wishes everyone could experience the exuberance of the Mummers Festival! Maria has volunteered with community and municipal organizations & has been an active member on several boards. Maria is the Archaeological Curator at MUN (Archaeology Dept) and has many years experience working in the Irish commercial archaeology sector. 


Erica Chubbs, Treasurer


Erica holds a diploma in business administration from Academy Canada and a great love for Newfoundland and Labrador. She remembers hearing about janneys (a.k.a. mummers) while growing up along Southern Labrador and the Lower North Shore of Quebec, though she never mummered til she participated in the festival. Erica started volunteering with the Mummers Festival in 2013 and looks forward to it every year. She proudly enjoys sharing and helping to keep these wonderful traditions alive.

Andrea O'Brien, Director


Andrea O’Brien has extensive academic and professional experience in the province’s heritage sector. She is a graduate of Memorial University - where she completed a B.A. focusing on folklore, history, Newfoundland Studies and English, a Bachelor of Education and a M.A. in folklore. As a student she worked for many years at the Colony of Avalon in Ferryland and later served on its Board. She has been employed with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador since 2004 and is presently their Municipal Outreach Officer - along with managing their Fisheries Heritage Preservation Program and Heritage Places Poster Contest. Andrea has been a member of the Mummers Festival board since its inception. Being a Southern Shore gal, she’s done her share of mummering too.

Andrea O_Brien.jpg

Delores Burton, Director


Delores has a day job in technical writing.   She joined the Board of the Mummers Festival in 2019 and finds enjoyment in the unbridled creativity it offers.   She sees the tradition through the lens of culture but also the tremendous sense of community and connection it fosters.  She is an avid walker with her dog Scrunchion, enjoys podcasts, hiking and dabbling in genealogy.  Her happy place is Renews.

Anna Reepschlager, Director

Anna relocated to St. John’s in 2021 to complete her MA in Folklore at Memorial University. She joined the Mummers Festival as a research volunteer in 2021, conducting research on mummer character histories and outfits, and helping to create costumes based on these descriptions for our Mummers, Jannies and More! fashion show at The Rooms. She caught the mummering fever, returned as a volunteer for the 2022 season, and is excited to sit on the Board of Directors for 2023. Anna currently serves as Gallery Programming Coordinator at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. Previously, she has worked with the Anna Templeton Centre and the Admiralty House Communications Museum, and has held multiple positions in communications. 
Anna_Mummers Fest Bio Image.JPG
bottom of page