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Mummering on Trial: Custom and Controversy

Presented By: Joy Fraser

Join us for a fascinating look at some of the dark elements of mummering that have occurred over the years. Dr. Joy Fraser, of Memorial University’s Department of Folklore, has been conducting archival research on Mumming and Violence in 19th Century Newfoundland.

In the 1800s, mummers in Newfoundland had a reputation for rowdy and violent behaviour that threw the custom into controversy. Local men regularly appeared in court accused of committing assaults and other offences while disguised as mummers. Commentators hotly debated the custom’s role in society, how it influenced Newfoundland’s reputation in the world, and what should be done about it—the kind of questions that still spark discussion around mummering today!

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John W. Hayward, “Christmas in the Olden Days” (1913). The Rooms Provincial Archives Division, MG 334-37.

The Provincial Archives holds records of more than 30 criminal cases involving mummers, most dating from the 1830s to the 1870s. This presentation explores the stories they tell about the custom and the controversy it created.


Free event! Part of the Coffee & Culture Series at The Rooms

Thursday, December 7 2:30 to 3:30pm
The Rooms
Part of the Coffee & Culture Program

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