Newfoundland’s Tib’s Eve

English: Newfoundland and Labrador Province wi...
Newfoundland and Labrador Province within Canada.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 23 means Tib’s eve in Newfoundland, Canada. I’d never heard of this either, until last year, anyway.

Quite interesting. Tib’s eve, from what I’ve read, means “never”. As in, “it’ll be Tib’s eve before you get that done!”

Tibb’s Eve, also known as Tipp’s Eve, Tip’s Eve or Tipsy Eve, originated on the south coast of Newfoundland.  It’s also widely recognized in other parts of the province stretching from Port-Aux-Basques to St. Anthony. The term is substantially less well known on the more urban avalon portion of the province.

The wild festivity started sometime around the mid-20th century as the first night during Advent when it was appropriate to have a drink. Advent was a sober, religious time of year and traditionally people would not drink alcohol until Christmas Day at the earliest. Tibb’s Eve emerged as an excuse to imbibe two days earlier. According to Dr. Phil Hiscock of Memorial University’s Folklore Department the tradition of celebrating Tibb’s Eve is similar to 19th century workers taking Saint Monday off from work.

“The more contemporary explanation of St. Tib’s comes from the association of the day with a Christmas tipple. In the 1500s if you were to go out for a drink you went out to a tipple, or alehouse, and were served by a tippler, the alehouse keeper. In Newfoundland – St. Tib’s became – the first real occasion to taste the homebrew, a day where the men would visit each other’s homes for a taste.”

Page update December 24, 2014


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