Stephen D. Winick's mummer's primer

Savor the holiday season with Huffington Post folklorist and columnist Stephen D. Winick who describes the history of mumming and his participation in the centuries-old tradition in a recent article. (photos)

In the Arts and Culture article, Winnick writes:

What is a Mummers Play, you ask, and what is mumming? Mumming is a word for disguising oneself, going door to door, and performing songs, dances and plays in neighbors' homes and in public places. It's a very old and widespread custom, going back at least to the Middle Ages. As a general practice, mumming can be found throughout Europe and the European diaspora, from Bulgaria to Ireland and from Australia to Newfoundland. It has also given rise to such offshoots as the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, which combines traditional elements with modern music and showmanship.