mumming/mummering 

Just thinking and chatting about mumming.

mumming/mummering/masquerade 

Still thinking about mumming.

And the spiritual and ecstatic and terrifying of the unknown and being another and change and transgender and other and needing to know.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

Phyllis Galembo's photo documentation of the practice of modern day Mumming spread colonially first by the French to West Africa then to the Americas.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

So why mumming? Well it's the oldest European pagan form of theatre from before records start. Where you hide your face in part for spiritual transformation and in part to hide your greed and sin of being a performer (so you no one knows you just earned more than most earn all year and you don't give any to your lord etc). Mask is a huge cornerstone in magic performance causing a lot of subconscious shifts in those who use them.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

It spreads out as a practice to the east such as Bulgaria where you still see winter festivals where people dress up in fur costumes covered in bells and act as bears waking up from hibernation to encourage the beginning of spring. Local mumming costumes derive traditionally from what was near and in surplus. Straw wicker woven from farmland, furs, cole. Often costumes focus is representative, but also importantly disguising your full body shape.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

Performance occurs during festival times. midsummer to celebrate the harvest, and winter to celebrate not dying in the cold. Festival is a time when rules and laws are suspended, including marriage, monogamy etc and chaos and trickery reigns supreme under the elected King of fools who is allowed to dictate new rules to follow (often the lowest standing person in the village).

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

During this time, bands of mummer performers roam and effectively extort people for money. The wren boys travel with a bird in a cage on a stick that you must pay to feed or it will die. The Hoeboys will dig up your garden if you don't pay etc.
Importantly this practice evolves later into masquerade where it is played out by the aristocracy at parties. Trickery and fucking and rules suspended.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

@mxsiege a much later tradition, but are you familiar with the Venetian Moretta? It’s an interesting combination of the freedom of masqueing during masquerade, combined with the loss of voice & the mouth- it’s held on by holding a button between the teeth, so you can’t speak or eat & drink with it on

mumming/mummering/masquerade 

@Cathymarinara Oh gosh wow, no this is the first time ive heard of it. I love that detail of loss of voice by design.

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

@mxsiege isn’t it? Especially given that women under the republic of Venice had an unusual amount of economic liberty & ability to be in the public sphere, especially compared to mainland Italy & a lot of Europe veneziaautentica.com/woman-dur

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mumming/mummering/masquerade 

@mxsiege especially the courtesan, tromping in her foot high chopines & under-trousers

mumming/mummering/masquerade 

@Cathymarinara Ooooooo

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