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ICH - Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
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Murphy, Judy and Will. Will Murphy and Judy Murphy, interview on the Wren tradtion, Colliers
Descriptive TitleMurphy, Judy and Will. Will Murphy and Judy Murphy, interview on the Wren tradtion, Colliers
CategoryFestive events and games
Music and song
Social beliefs, practices and customs
DescriptionColliers residents Will and Judy Murphy answer questions about the wren tradition
CollectorJarvis, Dale Gilbert, 1971-
InformantMurphy, Judy
Murphy, Will
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.
Resource TypeAudio
CollectionIntangible Cultural Heritage Inventory - Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
LogDale Jarvis interviews Will Murphy and Judy Murphy on Wren traditions in Colliers. [Ryan Davis and Dennis Flynn in attendance] November 11, 2009 Introduction; background of the Wren; his history with the Wren; the Wren rhyme that he performed (partial); the children's tradition; where they went; how they performed; how the tradition has changed; adult version of the tradition; Christmas visiting; how the Wren was incorporated into visiting how the "Wren boys" were "born"; who/how many went out together; customary to have a "little nip" at each house; when they went out; how Colliers is laid out and the route that the Wren boys took; reaction of people visited; description of the Wren that was carried; how he tries to "retire" from the Wren; Colliers as Irish Catholic; Colliers as the place for the Wren; his thoughts on young people carrying the tradition; mummering as separate from the Wren; tradition of jannying in Colliers possibly during Halloween; the future of the Wren; performing the Wren for a man who was in a coma; Mr. Bartlett's wake performance; his plans for continuing doing the Wren; record of 37 houses before supper; Judy states that she thinks the tradition will soon be over; recalling particular visits; how the visits proceeded; singing of songs mostly "old rebel songs"; Judy relates that it was only done in part of the community; Will's route as a child doing the Wren; Judy relates where children go now; children that are continuing the tradition in the community; reciting the Wren versus (seven in total); how much money he would make as a kid and what he did with the money; "soup houses" where people would have food ready for the Wren boys; path taken by the Wren boys "the Red Rock"; introducing outsiders to the tradition; learning to pace themselves with drink at each house; when they would end the evening what would happen afterwards; why it is dying out; story of someone falling under a tree at the Red Rock path [Judy showing pictures and explaining]; story about surprise beer at a cabin for leading the pack of Wren boys; how he might be retiring; how this version of the Wren is not a proper version of the tradition; how it was for the older folks enjoyment mainly; it is an evolved version; still popular to visit on Boxing Day even if the Wren isn't involved; now focus is on visiting families at Christmas and not visiting friends as it was with the Wren; Judy states that the most important thing about the Wren for her was when her sons started to understand the tradition; talking about doing it for the older folks; Judy talking about how the tradition is dying out; Judy states again why she thinks the Wren is important; story of Will singing a song for an elderly man; the Wren being about bringing happiness to others; Will gives Dale an essay that his son wrote about the Wren; Judy talking about how her sons did not understand the tradition until they partook in it; Will saying that he would like to continue to do the Wren; Judy talking about mummers coming on Boxing Day when Will is doing the Wren; route of the mummers in Colliers; tradition of mummering in Colliers; Wren boys do not go far because they go on foot; talking about Wren boys from Bacon Cove from the past; how the tradition has been dwindling in recent years; how the men would split away during the night; getting everyone organized to go; Wren recitation full; closing remarks.
CONTENTdm file name27.wma
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