Thursday, August 11, 2011

Indeed, We is Newfies!

 Newfoundland grows low bush blueberries which begin to ripen in July and last until early September.  The town of Brigus highlights its summer with an annual Blueberry Festival, held during the second weekend in August.

We were able  to stay at the Royal Canadian Legion with friends Pat and John Swatloski and help set up the hall for their dance and Newfie Night Ceremony.  This gave us a wonderful opportunity to meet Newfoundlanders in a friendly and festive setting. This is one of the biggest events of the year for this lodge and it was packed until 3:30 in the morning. 

We heard Newfie tunes and saw dance steps that we had never seen before.  

 Later in the evening, they had a “Screech In”,  a ceremony whereby outsiders become honorary Newfoundlanders.  These ceremonies are held all over Newfoundland.

 The master of ceremony must be a natural born Newfoundlander wearing a sou’wester rain hat.

  Skipper Dickey spent a lot of time telling Newfie tales and jokes to start the ceremony.

     Then, while wearing a sou’wester and life jackets, we were pulled in a small boat, the Swamp Fox, to the front of the legion.


John and I had special parts.  John had to wear a puffin hat--

                                                --do a Newfoundland jig--

                                             --and answer some goofy questions. 

                                    I had to wear a sou’wester for the ceremony--

                                            -- hold a plastic cod fish under my arm--

                                                   --generally make a fool of myself--

                                        -- and answer some goofy questions.

                                After blessing us all with salt water--

                --Skipper Dicky asked each one of us, “Is you a Newfie?”

We had to reply: “Deed, I is, me old cock. Long may your big jib draw.”

In Newfie language, this means you are a friend and you wish him good luck.

This is not easy to repeat in front of an audience and you had to answer correctly.

                   Next, we had to kiss a real, fresh-caught  cod fish--

                                        --eat a piece of bologna--

                       --bite the head off of a real caplin fish and eat it--

 --and end by downing a jigger of Screech, the official Newfoundland Rum. 

These guys put their hearts into this ceremony and it is among the best and most authentically detailed in the province. 

So, when you travel to Newfoundland, plan to be in Brigus on the second weekend of August for the Legion Newfie Night.

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