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Sunday , 16 January 2022

Editorial: A Newfoundland Holiday, Tibb’s Eve

In Newfoundland not Disneyland, Tibb’s eve which was also known as Tipsy Eve is the official start of the Christmas holiday season. Yes, the day before the day before Christmas. If that makes sense.

The expression dates back to the 1600s and is the only holiday of its kind and is only celebrated on the Rock. It’s a time when you can officially imbibe. Of course, designated drivers are a must if you plan on partaking in Tibb’s Eve activities. Leave it to Newfoundland to celebrate such a day, but it is a time when people travel to different households to sample the Christmas goodies. With the pandemic, I’m sure the damper has been put on the festivities. But I’m sure there are a few sheds rocking.

In many of the outport communities in Newfoundland, Tibb’s Eve became a day where the men would visit each other’s homes for a taste.

The first real occasion to taste the homebrew that is. Of course, the shed in Newfoundland is that home. So I think it should be called shed brew. However, in plain English, even though I’m Irish, for all you mainlanders, Tibb’s Eve basically became an excuse men would tell their wives to start drinking on December 23. Leave it to the Irish to create such a day.

There is uncertainty about the origins of the expression. Go figure, a tradition that gets you out of doing something and away from the wife was bound to catch on with the Newfoundland men. Who cares who started it. I’m sure the wives were glad it was started. Folklorists in Newfoundland generally agree that Tibb’s Eve was originally the old-fashioned way to say “never”, as in a day that doesn’t exist. In Newfoundland, the expression was “It will be Tibb’s Eve before you get that done.” Or “We’ll be at this from now to Tibb’s Eve”.

Well, today is that day and it exists! I’m sure there are a few Newfoundlanders somewhere here in Bonnyville with the stove glowing red, moose frying and have got Alan Doyle on bust in the background. If only you could get Bluestar in Alberta.

Just remember, if you are tippling on Tibb’s Eve – No Driving.

Merry Christmas, Don’t Drink and Drive.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.