National Acadian Day

Each year on August 15, the Acadians of eastern Canada celebrate their history and culture on National Acadian Day. Descended from French settlers in the 17th century, Acadians endured a painful deportation but maintained their identity through centuries of hardship. National Acadian Day recognizes their resilience as a people, honors their heritage, and keeps traditions alive. Marked by Acadian flags, songs, and revelry, the holiday commemorates shared ties and looks to a vibrant future.

National Acadian Day

History of the Acadians

Origins in France

The Acadians trace ancestry to French colonists who settled the region of Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) starting in 1604. Acadia alternated between British and French control over the next century.

Settlement in Canada

Despite territorial disputes, Acadians established thriving settlements in Acadia/Canada focused on farming, fishing and trade. Intermarriage with local First Nations peoples also occurred.

Expulsion by the British

During the French-British war in 1755, the British forced mass deportations of Acadians from Canada in the “Great Upheaval”.

Exiles in America

Thousands of exiled Acadians faced harsh conditions, death and family separation. Some were imprisoned, others migrated south to Louisiana where “Cajun” culture emerged.

Revival of Acadian Identity

Return to Canada

After 1764, many Acadians returned to settle lost lands in Canada. Communities such as Madawaska, Edmundston, Memramcook and Caraquet reestablished an Acadian presence.

Promoting Acadian Pride

Leaders promoted Acadian heritage and rights. In 1884, Acadians pressured for bilingual New Brunswick. Shared culture, music and language were nurtured.

Recognition as Founders

In 2003, the Canadian government recognized Acadians as founders, admitting past persecution. The 2004 National Acadian Day was a landmark celebration.

Establishing National Acadian Day

Pie IX’s Blessing in 1881

In 1881, Acadians attended a blessing by Pope Leo XIII seeking official recognition. August 15 was suggested to honor the Feast of the Assumption.

Celebrated Annually Since

The first National Acadian Day was organized in Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881. It is now celebrated by Acadian communities annually on August 15.

Celebrating Acadian Heritage

Family Reunions and Remembrance

Families reconnect on National Acadian Day through reunions, grave visits and ancestral research. Historical reflections keep the past alive.

Cultural Events

Parades, flag raisings, traditional masses, dances and sporting events celebrate Acadian pride. Sites like Grand-Pré highlight Acadian history.

Traditional Food and Music

Acadian dishes like fricot, râpuree and ployes are enjoyed. Folk songs, fiddling and call-and-response music fill town squares.

Conclusion

National Acadian Day allows Acadians to commemorate a painful history, recognize survival and progress, pass on their culture, and unite as a people. The holiday remains a testament to Acadian resilience and vibrancy despite upheaval. With their language, faith, and traditions intact, Acadians look to the future rooted in a shared past.