24 June 2011

I'se an Honorary Newfie :)

Newfoundland, also known as "The Rock"
(NL - part II) 

Welcome to Newfoundland. :) Never been here before?   Perfect.   This party is just for you.  It's known as a Screech-In ceremony.  It is held to welcome those visiting the Island (which is very commonly referred to as the 'Rock') for the first time.  It's been in existence for years.  Likely if I Google searched it, the history of this cultural ceremony would be told by many, over and over.  But I want to tell you about my memorable first time.

The same night as the town's annual festival street dance, we'd been invited to one of the girls houses (from the group I'd met in Dominican).  Once there it didn't take a genius to figure out that something was up.  Four chairs lined the front lawn.  In front of those there were four rain suits complete with sou'westers, tote boxes, song sheets etc.  Something fishy was going on (pardon the pun lol).  In amongst my introductions, I became aware of 3 others who weren't from Newfoundland originally...it was all starting to come together.

My best friend had planned a Screech-In for me (of course she did). She'd added all those visiting for their first time to the list of participants.  She conspired with the girls so a party could be held elsewhere (to lessen my suspicion and curiosity).  And she had asked for and pleaded participation from all those in attendance originally from NL (all were eager to assist and partake) and those who had previously become honorary. 

Then the people came.  And then more…and even MORE.  I think that someone counted 60 people on the "bridge" (which is the term for 'the deck' in Newfoundland), the front lawn, in the driveway, standing street-side.  Incredible.   And just as the sun decided to exit via the horizon, there was a shout-out:  "can I have your attention please" that followed with a list of four names "could you please make your way to the chairs please" ... mine was first on the list. 

A Screech-In is part of the very culture of Newfoundland. And because of that, I decided I couldn't tell you what it's like better than I could show you.

This collection of pics and videos (now posted http://www.youtube.com/) are of myself and my friends during our first visits to the Rock. For anyone who has received the distinction of "honorary Newfoundlander", this is a tribute to you. And hopefully it'll bring a smile to the faces of those from the Rock who have coordinated, participated or witnessed a similar ceremony. You can throw some party!! :)

My apologies.  While providing the editorial for this little ditty, I may have referred to "Whiskey"  ... when in actuality, Screech is Newfoundland Rum. 

I have many funny memories from my night of distinction. I couldn't get the Screech out of the little bottle.  You can sort of tell that’s what happened in the video here. I'd started first, and after the other 3 had finished theirs, I was still at it (near ran out of air trying).  And I wasn't sure of the need for knowing this until this very night, but cod fish have teeth!!  HAHA.  Yes they do. During my second smooch with Mr. Gills (first one was the ceremony kissy kissy...the 2nd, because someone needed to see it again),  his teeth grasp hold of my upper lip, not enough for stitches, but it left a little scar there for a few months after my return.  What a keepsake!

They said later that it seemed the whole town had stopped by to witness the Screech-In.  I believe it!  This town was filled with amazing, genuine people who loved to celebrate (thank you little town in Central) and I'm certain I met them all.  I cherish those memories, as have my friends who've earned their distinction thereafter my first visit.  I can't wait to get back in your arms!  Thank you Stephanie (et al.) ... honestly don't think I can express how grand that first visit was. Maybe my many returns say enough ;)

Before I could go on with the post I promised last time entitled: Newfoundland Rocks, I had to share the Screech-In Ceremony first.  So for next time I'll write about my first encounter with a whale, the windy day in the little boats out in the bay, a visit to Twillingate and the plans for our future reunions. 

The results from the Weekly Survey Question:  ever been to Newfoundland?
35% Yes and have been Screeched-in
12% Yes but no ceremony
41% No, unfortunately not yet
12% What the ?!?# is a “Screech-In”

So I’m guessing that you who went to the Rock but didn’t get Screeched-In (12% of you), was because you didn’t know what it was?  And for those of you who answered that you had no idea what the ceremony was at the time of this survey, I hope you do now.  You know, it doesn’t matter what part you visit when you go to Newfoundland (you really should go), you’ll be embraced by warm hospitality, history, culture and sights that’ll take you years to complete seeing.

Share your comments, your stories, your travel advice etc. in the section below (comments or reaction section) and give your answer to the weekly survey (top right of the blog page).  No sign up necessary, just a simple click :)  A little shy?!  Why not send me an email instead: holidayheidi@hotmail.ca.    

1 comment:

  1. I love it and sorry about the fish bite- hehehehehehe. What a crowd it was and one of the best parties and biggest I ever went to - all in Heidi's honour!!!! We take alot of things for granted here in Newfoundland but to be able to show someone something for the first time, is like doing it for our first time again especially to see someone's face and excitement over whales, icebergs, etc. We have had so much fun with you and all our friends/sister that have visited for the 1st or 2nd times. Can't wait for you to come home to the "rock" again <3