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ICH - Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
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Phillips, Blair and Gay. Blair Phillips and Gay Phillips, interviewed about the Wren tradition, Colliers
Descriptive TitlePhillips, Blair and Gay. Blair Phillips and Gay Phillips, interviewed about the Wren tradition, Colliers
CategoryFestive events and games
Music and song
Social beliefs, practices and customs
Visiting (hospitality)
Boxing Day
Person as TopicPhillips, Blair
Phillips, Gay
DescriptionColliers residents Blair and Gay Phillips answer questions about the wren tradition as it was practiced in the late 1960's. They also describe dressing up and going mummering.
CollectorJarvis, Dale Gilbert, 1971-
InformantPhillips, Blair
Phillips, Gay
Location Depicted/DiscussedCanada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Colliers
Recording LocationCanada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Colliers
NotesThe wren is just one of several Christmastime house-visiting traditions that continue in Newfoundland and Labrador. Typically, children and/or adults will visit homes within their community carrying around an effigy of a small bird—the wren. Upon entry into a home, they usually recite a poem about the wren and may offer some kind of performance, be it song, joke, or recitation. Often the host will offer up food, drink, or money for the visit. Unlike other house-visiting traditions, there are no disguises involved.
Extent22:58 minutes
Resource TypeAudio
CollectionIntangible Cultural Heritage Inventory - Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
LogDale Jarvis interviews Blair and Gay Philips about Wren traditions in Colliers. [Ryan Davis and Dennis Flynn in attendance] November 11, 2009 Introductory remarks; earliest memories of going around "on the Wren" and a description of the tradition; use to use the "crow from the cornflakes box" as a Wren; the tradition as it changed as the performers grew older; Blair started at age 10 late 60s, early 70s; who went with them cousins and friends; Gay would go to over 25 houses on Boxing Day; how they would fill their pockets and mittens with pennies given to them; would spend the money on "junk"; Blair states that he would save up for a hockey stick and plastic blade; recitation of the Wren; people's reaction to the performance; they were known as "the fools (?) crowd"; people would question if they did not see them on Boxing Day; presents that they received doing the Wren; how kids do not understand the meaning of the Wren; how people have variations on the versus said; how it was a Colliers tradition; thinking about why it might have happened in Colliers; who they learned from; how the new generation is carrying the tradition; who is carrying it on; the future of the Wren; use of Christmas tree ornament for the Wren by new bearers; Blair and Gay were given "Wrens" by a local and they still have them; mummering tradition in Colliers on Boxing Day; dressing for going mummering; bringing musical instruments mummering; how they tried to go to houses of seniors; what they got to drink if they did not drink alcohol; how they drank half a drink per house usually; the guessing game played during mummering; trying not to talk while mummering; mummering in the community today; mummering around Newfoundland; how certain families / people love having the mummers visit; usually between 6 12 people in the group mummering; closing remarks.
Topic.TGMColliers (N.L.)--Social life and customs;
CONTENTdm file name26.wma
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