Prior to becoming part of the 10th province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949, Newfoundland was an independent Dominion. For this reason, Newfies, (the common name for people from Newfoundland) identify being Newfoundlanders first and then Canadian. Rum has played a major role in their history and today, they use it to extended a welcome to its visitors.
The story goes that years ago Newfoundlanders traded salted cod with the Jamaicans for their rum barrel ends. They would then add water to them, creating their own rum. This brew was rough and remained nameless for years. Then one day an American naval officer was offered some after diner. He noticed that the other officer drank his shot quickly in one go. So he did too. Then, he let out an almighty screech that brought his captain running. Asking the question,
“What’s the screech about.” asked the Captain?
The officer replied stating “tis the rum.”
And that is how Newfoundland’s rum was named. Today, the name is the same, although now good quality Jamaican rum is used. It is this rum that is basis of the Screeching-In ceremony. This ceremony helps tourists feel welcome and makes them an honorary Newfy after participation.
The Screeching-In Ceremony takes four parts.
1. Drinking something from Newfoundland – Screech Rum
2. Eating something from Newfoundland – Bolonge
3. Saying something from Newfoundland – Too weird to remember.
4. Kissing something from Newfoundland – a frozen cod. Yeah.
To join with tradition, my husband and I were Screeched-In recently. It was fun. We have now joined nearly 200,000 visitors who can now call themselves, Newfies. Screeched-In at Trapper Johns, St Jon’s Newfoundland. If you ever go to Newfoundland join the fun.