Wednesday December 2nd, and 16th at 10:15 am our Morning Coffee at The Rooms Restaurant on the 4th floor of The Rooms Museum. January 6th 2010 will be our first coffee morning in the new year. You will always find a friendly contact at one of the Wednesday coffee mornings. The coffee mornings provide the best informal way to meet other members, connect with kindred spirits, or suggest themes for future socials or new activities. If the present gathering cannot satisfy your curiosity the following ladies are always ready to answer questions regarding the Newcomers’ Club and our activities:
Michelle, Anne, Hana
See The City of St. John’s Welcomes You site for all the cultural events the season offers. St. John’s is home to many musicians, so you should have your fill of live singing and Christmas carols. Handel’s Messiah performed by the Symphony at the Basilica is an annual treat, this time on December 11th, and 12th. At 4:00pm on December 5th you may participate at the Festival of Music and Lights taking place in Bowring Park. You will find live performances of Scrooge, Grinch and need not even miss the obligatory Nutcracker ballet performed at Arts and Culture Centre on December 17 – 20. The Mummers Festival Parade is a welcome addition to the season’s festivities, taking place on the afternoon of December 20th
ending at The Rooms. Try to welcome in the new year watching the fireworks at Quidi Vidi.
NEWFOUNDLAND CORNER by Hana S.
If Ducks Do Slide at Hollandtide (November 11) At Christmas They Will Swim
Most of our club members are CFA’s or come from away, far as ever a puffin flew. Newcomers from Finland or other Scandinavian countries are used to harsher temperatures than those of Newfoundland and Labrador winters, and they could give us lessons in enjoying the great outdoors even when snow makes the world look practically monochrome. Others come from the southern USA and are eagerly anticipating fairy tale snow fall culminating in Norman Rockwell Christmas. While the desired effect cannot be guaranteed, by rights, snow, and lots of it, will materialize sometime before next May.
As to the old fashioned Christmas customs, The First Annual Mummers’ Parade may illustrate some local lore. One thing is certain, Christmas was always a very special time for families, the one time other than for wakes that you would be welcome in a parlour, rather than in the kitchen for a kitchen party. Singing and music always played an important part in all celebrations, with the fiddle and spoons being the most popular instruments, the mouth organ (harmonica), and later accordion and the guitar.
Two days in December we CFA’s may not be so familiar with, are December 23rd, and December 28th. Tipsy Eve 23/12 was probably the only day the wives gave their blessings to their husbands to drink as they went from house to house and sampled homebrew, moonshine or berry wine. Holy Innocents Day 28/12 was long considered as the unluckiest day in some parts of the province; it was believed no job started on this day would be completed successfully.
As today, gifts were exchanged, mostly homemade. The adage, Take gifts with a sigh – most men give to be paid, meaning, there is an ulterior motive to most things, seems to be a little too skeptical and a little out of character for the friendly Newfoundlanders. The new year used to be welcome as it is now, on December 31st at Midnight, albeit not with Chinese firecrackers, but at the time of muzzle loader by firing guns into the air. People in outport communities opened the back door to let the old year out and the front door to let the new year in. Let’s open the front door wide to welcome the year 2010 and let’s hope it brings us only glad tidings.
The following are definitions of colloquial expressions from the Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador by Ron Young used in this issue of the Signal
If Ducks Do Slide at Hollandtide (November 11) At Christmas They Will Swim – If the weather is cold enough to freeze the ponds over by 11/11, it will warm up enough by Christmas to thaw the ice. It was barely 4 degrees C and very windy on Remembrance Day, and as far as I know, only the water in my watering can outside froze, so we still do not know what to expect on Christmas Day.
far as ever a puffin flew – a long distance
by rights – strictly speaking
kitchen party – entertaining was done in the kitchen because that was usually the only heated room in the house
Tipsy Eve – the name was probably borrowed from St. Tib’s Eve; there is no such Saint, so promises made would never be fulfilled. "You’ll get a new sled on St. Tib’s Day…"
Holy Innocents Day – the children of Bethlehem under the age of two slain on the order of King Herod in an attempt to kill Jesus, the newborn King.