Five Festive Celebrations in Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is a place where our festive culture combined with the likelihood of landscape-blanketing snowfalls makes for a wonderful Christmas season.

It’s no surprise that it’s also the kind of place where you should get out and enjoy the festivals and events dotting the calendar in the weeks leading up to the big day. Here are five of our favourite ways to get together and celebrate the holiday season.

Mummers Festival

Every year during the Christmas season, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians go mummering, and dress from head to toe in masks, oversized bras, sheets, lace curtains, lampshades, various articles of clothing, and whatever else can be found in the attic. Once they conceal their identity, they head out to sing and dance, calling on the homes of friends and neighbors. And each December there’s a parade through St. John’s to celebrate the mummering tradition. Find your best long johns and join in the procession, or cheer from a spot along the parade route. There are also mummering workshops, and a party at the end of the parade.

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Port de Grave Boat Lighting

Celebrate Christmas by lighting up the harbour in Port de Grave. As part of a 20-year tradition, more than 50 local fishers decorate their boats with colourful lights. It’s a magical night with a community singing of Silent Night, and performances from children’s choirs. Along with its assortment of seasonal decorations, each boat uses more than 3,000 lights!

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MUN Botanical Garden Merry & Bright Light Festival

Experience holiday magic on a winter walking experience at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden. This annual festival is particularly family friendly, and a pretty cool experience for anyone. The creations are a lot of fun – check out the caterpillar of lights, glowing candles, and sparkling lights. Warm up with hot chocolate and play a fun game of spotting their Christmas Gnomes, or take family pictures and selfies in the glamorous gazebo.

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Bay Roberts Festival of Lights

One of the ten most festive communities in Canada, the Town of Bay Roberts might have the most extensive Christmas celebrations in the province! The Festival of Lights is a collection of community events to mark the season. The town hosts a large nativity collection and a live nativity scene. There’s also the province’s first intelligent light park, and numerous other events. And not one, but two, Santa Claus parades – one in the daytime and one at night. The Festival of Lights is a two-time National Winter Lights winner.

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Christmas at Commissariat

If you are looking for a different way to get into the festive spirit this year, then the sights, sounds, tastes, and traditions of an 1830s Christmas might be for you. Join characters from colonial St. John's as you tour Commissariat House by candlelight. Enjoy warm cider by the fire, sing carols, and make a natural craft to take home. Be sure to dress warm!

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