Last month, I was shivering in Newfound land, Canada. I had gone there to see l’Anse aux Meadows, the site where it has long been said the Vikings first landed in North America. (Some old time Vineyarders insist that a rock formation on a hill overlooking Menemsha Pond is a cromlech from a Viking settlement.)

In any case, at l’Anse aux Meadows there are reconstructed Viking longhouses to view. I warmed up in one by a blazing fire as I heard tales of Leif Erickson and Eric the Red. Elsewhere in Newfoundland. I shivered on boat tours among calved icebergs — towering chunks of ice that have broken off from full-sized icebergs in Greenland and made their way to Newfoundland. (These, in a friendly way, are nicknamed bergie bits despite their enormous size.)

All this was interesting, but clearly chilling. There I was, at the start of a summer holiday, buying woolen mittens! I was told a good warmer-upper would be to participate in a local rite — a Screech-In, like a lamb going to the slaughter. I fell for it, and after dinner one night I was taken to Uncle Hot’s Cafe in Straitsville to be Screeched-In.

There were a dozen of us tourists — “come-from-awayers,” as they say in Newfoundland — at the Screech-In. All of us had been talked into taking part in the ceremony after our bone-chilling outdoor Newfoundland experiences. Once we had downed a drink or two, the leader of the cafe band invited us to join him for our Newfie baptism.

Hip boots, yellow slickers and sou’westers were handed out for all of us to don. Then one by one, the band leader called us to join him. He had a frozen codfish (it should have been a limp one but codfish weren’t in season then) in his hands. Proferring it to the unkowning, he chanted “Over the lips, and over the gums. Look out, stomach, here it comes!” He then urged us to have a taste of Newfoundland steak. (It turned out to be bologna.)

Next, we were offered a bite of a bay bun (a roll of questionable taste whose ingredients included both molasses and pork.) After that, we were ordered to “Say something in Newfie.”

For come-from-awayers, Newfie talk can be something of a mystery, as Newfies have their own colorful vocabulary. A typical roadside greeting to a friend might go something like this: “How you getting on, you old cock?” It may be followed with “Chase me,” which means follow me. Or “I’m bate (beaten) to a snot,” which means I’m worn out.

I hadn’t the foggiest idea what to say in Newfie, so the bandleader, holding the frozen cod in one hand, prompted me in a stage whisper to exclaim “as cold as a cod’s nose” as I approached the fish. Next, I was instructed to kiss the cod amorously on its lips and murmur something endearing in Newfie spiel. This time I managed to remember a Newfie phrase I’d heard, that went something like,“You’d charm the heart out of a grindstone and make a wheelbarrow dance.” I whispered it to the frozen fish as endearingly as I could.

Then, after I had savored enough of the cold cod’s lips (and he of mine), I was instructed to have a swallow of Screech, a powerful dark West Indian rum whose origins date from the 17th century when salt cod from Newfoundland went to Jamaica and strong, strong rum — strong enough to make one screech when drinking it — came back. Today’s Screech lacks the potency of the Screech of centuries ago, but it is still produced in Jamaica solely for hardy Newfoundlanders. It is made, I expect, expressly to help them weather their winters (and apparently their summers too.)

After that — in my yellow slicker, wading boots and sou’wester, I was told to dance a Newfie jig. Having downed my slug of Screech, I did quite well at it. Or so I understand. I don’t remember dancing any jig at all.

When I went outdoors afterwards, warmed to the gills from my amorous interlude with the codfish and my gulps of Screech, I was still dancing. I was “hammered,” my chuckling Newfie friends said. I no longer had any need for my new wool mittens. I was warm as toast as I did my jig.

Had I been in Edgartown instead, dancing a Newfoundland jig outside the Square Rigger at 1 a.m., I would have been described as “half sea’s over,” and my friends would have politely looked the other way.

In any case, I certainly did more than visit Viking sites in Newfoundland.