Mr. Alex A. Parsons, (1848-1932) in the St. John’s publication Christmas Bells, 1912 took some time to reflect on Christmas “in the good old days of yore.” He wrote:
“It seems to me that people of the present day (1912) do not enter into the spirit of the season as did our ancestors in the “good old days of yore”. I distinctly remember when the approach of “Yuletide” – as we now call it – was hailed with the greatest enthusiasm by all ages and conditions of men, regardless of their surroundings and circumstances.
Mummering was then our most popular amusement at Christmastide. This usually began on the afternoon of the Feast of St. Stephen (December 26) , and continued every evening and night till the end of the Old Twelfth Day. Then, an extraordinary display of fancy and unique dresses by the merry masqueraders, accompanied by brass bands, a big “haul of wood”and other demonstrations of a kindred nature;
brought this great festival to a close. Surely there are citizens here in St. John’s today who can readily call to mind that exciting scene when mummers paraded along that thoroughfare from one end of Water Street to the other.
But, within the past few years, these kinds of festivities once appropriate to the day have much fallen off.
The heart-histories of most people are bound up with the happy memories of Christmas Day. Christmas in the Home! Think of it, citizens of Newfoundland! Think of the Christmas days when you were young: the pleasant home-coming after school, the skating in the frosting morning, sometimes on the harbor, sometimes on Quidi Vidi Lake, sometimes on Burtons Pond, the children’s parties, the memorable Christmas tree, the presents from and to everybody, the round of dances – what man or woman ever forgets those merry, merry days of Christmas?”
Mr. Alex A. Parsons, (1848-1932) was editor of the Evening Telegram (1882-1904); and Superintendent of H.M. Penitentiary (1905 – 1925).
Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. All the very best with the challenges and opportunities that will come in the New Year.
Recommended Archives: Search the online database for descriptions of our archival records and view thousands of digital photographs. – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections
Lost Expression: Haul of wood: a co-operative gathering of fuel (wood) for a clergyman, convent or school.
Recommended Reading: Jack and the Manger by Andy Jones. Jack and the Manger retells the story of Jesus’s birth as if it were a Newfoundland folktale. www.runningthegoat.com