Screech-Ins: Your comments

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jan 21, 2014 2:36 PM
Sue Bohill reluctantly puckers up to become an honorary Newfoundander during a Screech-In ceremony. (Daphne Izer photo)

What do you think of Screech-Ins? We asked that question of our readers as part of a November 2013 print story, and we received phone calls, comments, and mail on the topic. We've collected some of the responses here.

But first, here is what Screech-In Master Keith Vokey of Christian's had to say about the tradition when asked about it by writer Linda Browne for the November 2013 issue of Downhome:

DH: Some people think Screech-Ins put Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a bad light. What do you think about that?

KV: I know people feel that way, but I don't. I think the Screech-In is all meant in good fun. It's meant to introduce people to some of the customs and ideas, but it's also meant to take a measure of the people coming in from out of the province. For me, it's always been about having fun and I never push people beyond their comfort zone. I don't think it's presenting us in a negative light at all. It is a little bit of a stereotype for sure, but right at the end you take all those stereotypes and you turn them on their ear. What the people are participating in, what they're buying into, is not what Newfoundlanders are. I try to make that clear in the presentation of what I do.

The responses:

We received an unsigned hand-written letter on an index card with no return address. Here's what the anonymous commenter had to say:

"Re: Screech-ins
As a native born Newfoundlander I've never been to one, but they sound stupid and demeaning. Jamaican rum and codfish as idols! If K.V. has a good sense of humour, why waste it on that - focus on something really interesting and funny. If I as a Newfoundlander find it offensive and dumb, how gross would it be to an outsider? Stop screech-ins and concentrate on good, wholesome, real fun that is natural to Newfoundlanders."

Others chose to call our phone line and leave a message. We've included two of those calls here.

June Heale

It is all innocent fun and a carry on of traditions. Nothing wrong with it, people should lighten up, if they don't care for it. I have an amusing story for you. One time when I lived in Alberta, they had a screech-in at the Onoway, AB legion. After being married to a Newfie for 50 plus years I finally became an honorary newfie, thought that many years would have qualified me. However the highlight of this story is when my 12 yr. old grandson, stood in line to kiss the cod to become an honorary newfie to, before he kissed the fish, he pulled down his sleeve & rub it across the fish. When I, (his Grandma), said Jesse, why did you do that before you kissed the fish? He quickly replied "I was wiping away the girl germs". (A couple of girls proceeded him in the lineup). That remark caused me to burst into laughter, "out of the mouths of babes", comes so much truth.

Alicia "Celeste" Loughrey

I personally enjoy them, especially when Natasha Henstridge schreeched in Conan O'brien on his show & when they did it on 'The Amazing Race-Canada' :)