Nfld. & Labrador

Bras needed for mystery reason, says Mummers organizer

"We need a hundred or more bras," says Ryan Davis, co-ordinator of the 5th Annual Mummer's Festival in St. John's.

St. John's event growing in popularity

These mummers took part in the Mummers Parade in St. John's in December 2012. (CBC)

"We need a hundred or more bras," says Ryan Davis, co-ordinator of the 5th Annual Mummer's Festival in St. John's.

Davis says his group is making an appeal for donations of the undergarments, but he won't says what the bras will be used for.

Bras have always been popular costume items for mummers, who are fond of cross-dressing, but Davis insisted that festival organizers need the undergarments for something different. 

"I don't think anywhere in the world has done what we want to do with these bras," said Davis. "This is a very new thing for us."  

Mummering a Newfoundland and Labrador tradition 

Mummering, or jannying, has been a Christmas tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador since the 19th century. It usually involves a group of friends who dress in disguise and visit homes within their communities during the 12 days of Christmas. The custom was derived from old English and Irish traditions. 

Ryan Davis, the co-ordinator of the 5th Annual Mummers Festival in St. John's, is asking for donations of bras and craft supplies. (CBC)

Five years ago, Davis decided to update the custom for a school project by starting a mummers festival in St. John's. 

"We went from 300 mummers in the first year to close to 2,000 at The Rooms last year." 

Davis and his team now work months in advance to plan each festival, which happens during the month of December.

This year, the festival includes costume making workshops, historic talks, visits from traditional Irish mummers and the big event: the Mummers Parade on Dec. 14. 

Craft supplies, volunteers also needed

Davis said in addition to bras, the Mummers Festival is looking for volunteers and craft supplies for this festival's first event, the Hobby Horse Workshop on Dec. 1. 

"That involves cleaning out juice or tomato tins for the cans on top ugly sticks to cutting cardboard templates for our hobby horses," Davis explained. 

Davis said anyone with bras or other materials to donate can drop them off at The Sprout restaurant in downtown St. John's or get in touch with the group through its website. 

Davis promised the bra project will be revealed at the Mummers Parade on Dec. 14. 


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