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Thursday, May 22, 2008


Newfoundland Screech-In

Bryan Smith and Fergus Coffey are Screeched-in during a brief ceremony at the 2008 KNL kayaking retreat. It is always a great laugh to see this being done. Jim Price one of our club members and one of the better paddlers in NL performed the MCEE honors.

First time visitors to Newfoundland may be submitted to a “Screeching-In” ceremony which entitles them to become an honorary Newfoundlander. This is intended to be a fun time and the ceremony is usually thoroughly enjoyed by both the visitors and anyone who happens to be watching.

Accounts of Screeching-In ceremonies vary slightly depending on the personalities involved and the materials on hand but the idea is all pretty much the same.

A Newfoundlander is selected as Master of Ceremonies who is familiar with the history of Newfoundland and, preferably, capable of playing the accordion or guitar. The MC introduces the candidates to the Newfoundland tradition and some Newfoundland customs and songs, especially “I’se da Boy”. While this is going on the candidates are encouraged to eat some of our famous bologna and hard tack washed down with Screech and coke. Meanwhile, the MC might poke a little fun at the candidate for their ignorance of Newfoundland customs and traditions or even their accent.

The candidates then, in turn:

---dons a sou’wester and dances a little jig as instructed by the MC
---downs a shot of Screech (unmixed) after repeating “thru the teeth and over the gums, look out stomach, here she comes"
---recites “Long may your big jib draw me ol’ cocky!”
---kisses a raw cod fish (now-a-days we like to emphasize the reduction in cod stocks by getting the candidates to chew the head of a "capelin" or kiss the butt of a stuffed Puffin. Fergus and Bryan got the capelin.)

The MC then asks if the candidate is a Newfoundlander to which the correct reply is, “dee’d I is me ole trout and long may yore big jib draw”. When answered correctly and after a sprinkling of salt water the candidate is tapped on both shoulders with an oar from a fishing boat and declared an Honourary Newfoundlander.

Once the ceremony is over each candidate is given a copy of the Royal Order of Screechers certificate which declares that he/she is enrolled in the Order.

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