If you’ve been researching a visit to Newfoundland, you’ve likely heard about the Screech-In ceremony and are wondering if you should take part.
That answer is a YES!
The Screech-In Ceremony is a Newfoundland tradition where we give CFAs (Come from away’s) the prestigious title of honourary Newfoundlanders! Think of it as a fun initiation!
Typically, you’re made to repeat some local sayings, kiss a cod fish, drink some Screech rum, and possibly try some Newfoundland Steak. In return, you’ll get a certificate confirming your title as an honourary Newfoundlander!
There are endless places to find screech-in ceremonies across the province. Although they typically happen in pubs or bars, you can also find them at tourist hotspots such as boat tours. There are even some family-friendly ones.
Are you up for the challenge? Getting Screeched-in can seem intimidating, but there’s really nothing to fear! It’s a good bit of fun, and you’ll treasure the memory forever and you can proudly display your certificate on the wall.
Screech-In Ceremony Procedure
The exact procedure of the Newfoundland Screech-In Ceremony will vary depending on who performs it. Regardless, the idea is the same! You can always expect to recite some words, kiss a cod fish, take a shot of Newfoundland Screech rum, and be declared an honourary Newfoundlander.
Places that really go all out, such as Christian’s (see below) will also incorporate tasting some “Newfoundland Steak“, song-singing, and interaction with the crowd by asking about where you come from.
Generally, the leader of the ceremony (a native Newfoundlander) will first ask if you’d like to become a Newfoundlander. The proper response is a hefty “yes b’y!” and you’ll be taught this by the leader, who may also make commentary along the way, all in good fun of course!
Next you’ll be asked some variation of “Is ye a screecher?” and you’ll be taught the correct reply “‘Deed I is, me ol’ cock! And long may yer big jib draw!” The leader may first exaggerate typical Newfoundland lingo by speaking very fast, and then laughing as the crowd struggles to repeat the line.
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Next, a cod fish, either fresh, frozen, or maybe even just a plush toy will be passed around. Each aspiring Newfie will be asked to plant a big kiss right on its lips.
Depending on where your screech-in is performed, you may be sent away with a certificate. It will declare your honourary Newfoundlander status, which you can then frame and hang on your wall.
You must be fully committed to the process. Should you refuse to kiss the cod or down the Newfoundland Screech, you will bring great shame to your family, live with deep regret, and be banned from the island. Okay, maybe not quite that severe, but who wants to find out?
The Newfoundland Screech-In is all in good fun. None of the food/drink served is anything we don’t eat and drink ourselves, so you have nothing to worry about! Relax and have a great time.
Best Newfoundland Screech-In Spot in St. John’s
As we said, there are many places to get Screeched-in in Newfoundland, but by far our favourite is Christian’s Pub on George Street. Christian’s does screech-in ceremonies year round, but they really get busy during tourism season! Tourists come from around the world to be screeched-in at Christian’s, and for good reason! Christian’s screech-ins are second to none. Be sure to call ahead or drop by earlier in the day and get your name in!
Not ready to take the Screech-in leap yet, or not coming to NL any time soon? Maybe some Newfoundland Screech coffee will suffice for now!
If you want a sneak peak at the ceremony, check out this video.