Mummers the word in St. John's, Newfoundland at Christmas time Picture this: tables stacked with 2,500 homemade fruitcakes, legions of costumed mad hatters dancing in the streets, neighbours sneaking up and scaring the heck out of one another. That's the Mummers Festival in St. John's, Newfoundland. The mummery tradition, whereby friends and neighbours visit each other's homes in assorted disguises, has long been part of the outport and small town culture throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and in parts of the United States, notably in Philadelphia and New York for instance. While the mummery tradition has been fading in some communities, organizers are now hosting specific mummery festivals to keep the custom alive. The Mummery Festival, and attendant shenanigans, take place at various times in December depending where you are in the world. Mummery festivals look like this: Mummers parades in Philadelphia take place on New Year's Day. The Mummery Parade in St. John's, Newfoundland takes place December 14. Entertainment includes the Armagh Rhymers, a group of mummers from Northern Ireland, and the post-Parade Scuff 'n' Scoff, which includes live jamming outdoors. Organizers are adding a new event this year, the Bird and Box Mask Making Workshop, to educate youngsters about the art of mask-making. Visit mummersfestival.ca for for more info.