Fredericton – The colours of the Acadian flag were visible throughout Fredericton and much of New Brunswick on Saturday, August 15th. The hot summer day marked La fête des Acadiens, the national holiday celebrating Acadian culture. In Fredericton, over 100 people gathered at Officer’s Square to celebrate l’Acadie through food, music, inflatable games, local talent and a parade.
The event, organized by the St-Anne Community Centre, included a mixture of the traditional and the modern, demonstrating the vibrancy of today’s Acadian community in Fredericton. The sounds of acadian music were intermixed with non-acadian music and percussion by the Djougdjoug Ensemble in the afternoon, giving the celebration a new twist. The evening celebrations were launched with a tintamarre, a parade of noise-makers and Acadian colours characteristic of Acadian Day celebrations, along Queen Street.
Marc Allain, an organizer of Fredericton’s Acadian Day festivities, explained the importance of the holiday. “It is essential for all cultures to gather from time to time to celebrate their heritage, and affirm and define their culture. This is especially important for minority cultures, such as Acadians.”
He pointed out that this year’s low attendance–about a quarter of previous years–was no indication of a dwindling Acadian community. “We knew attendance in Fredericton would be significantly smaller this year, because many people we talked to during the time leading up to the celebration told us they would be going to Caraquet for the weekend. We still thought it was important to hold our annual celebration here for those who can’t make it to Caraquet.”
The fourth Acadian World Congress is taking place in Caraquet until August 23rd. A crowd of 50,000 people is estimated to have gathered in the small village in the Acadian Peninsula on Saturday, forming what was said to be one of the biggest Acadian celebrations in the history of the world.
Acadian culture is not only celebrated on August 15th. Saint-Anne Community Centre in Fredericton holds regular artistic and cultural events throughout the year.
Visit Sainte-Anne Community Centre’s website (www. http://www.centre-sainte-anne.nb.ca/) for more information on upcoming events.
Marie-Christine Allard is a member of the NB Media Co-op.