Friday, 13 September 2013

About Last Night...

     I knew "Screeching In" was a tradition in Newfoundland before I arrived. I was told it involved shots of rum and kissing a cod. When all of us were invited to Linda's to partake in this tradition, I thought I knew what to expected. I was not prepared.

An improv session at Linda's
     The night started out normally enough. Some of us got beers, others soda. The atmosphere was calm and quiet. Then things started to get weird. Linda brought out several hats for us to wear. The hats ranged from flamboyant to odd. After this turn of events, I thought to my self;

"Well, this is different, but alright".

Not long after the arrival of hats, an improv band was established. Fiddle and accordion filled the inn with a festive mood. Dancing and jolly making soon followed. The "Screech In" appeared to have turned into a regular party. This appearance was shattered when Linda Brought out a tray. Resting on said tray were the following items:

7 shots of screech rum.
7 pieces of smoked capelin
1 frozen sea bird

My next thoughts after catching sight of this were in the neighborhood of;

"Where the hell is this going?"
Linda prepares the ceremony
This is when the true ceremony began. Some sort of oath was spoken, though I only understood half the words. All of us were then ordered to take a fish, then to rip of its tail. We were told to place the tails in our pockets. The rest of the fish was to be swallowed head first by the screechers. The only way to describe the flavor of capelin is to compare it to a giant, gooey anchovy.

Next in the agenda was for each of us to kiss the butt of a long dead bird (30 years dead to be exact). Each of us took our turn placing our lips on a feathery behind. At this point I couldn't wait to finally down the screech. I needed something to sterilize my mouth.

The "Screech In" ended with some final words and a shot of the infamous rum. And with that we all became honorary Newfoundlanders. It was a surreal process, one that would be hard to explain to anyone not familiar with this place. Any story that ends with "Then I kissed the butt of a bird" is sure to get some strange looks on the mainland. Newfoundland manages to somehow be horrifying and wonderful at the same.

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