Most people assume that all Canadians are just ‘Canadian’, and that the French spoken by the people there is the same as any French. Such is not the case, however! In fact, Canada didn’t use to be one colony, but two, and one of those was the Acadian region. National Acadian Day celebrates these people and the culture they represent to this very day.
History of National Acadian Day
Acadia consisted of what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and included areas of Quebec and Maine. Acadia was a separate colony from that which eventually came to form Canada (until it got absorbed) and even developed their own dialect of French! In fact, there are remnants of 17th Century French that no longer exist anywhere but in books and the language of those who still speak the Acadian regional dialect!
Most people know about Louisiana and the Cajun culture that comes from there, what most people don’t know is that the Cajun’s roots lie in Acadian refugees escaping the British when they conquered Acadia in 1710. The next 45 years were contentious and when the Acadians were found fighting the British alongside the French massive deportations began. Of the 11,500 Acadians who were deported, many of them found their way to Louisiana.
The rest of them returned to France, and from there many of them came back to either Louisiana or to New Brunswick since they were not allowed to reclaim their lands in Nova Scotia. Through these trials and history the Acadian people persevered, and now National Acadian Day celebrates their history, culture, and heritage.
How to celebrate National Acadian Day
It’s likely that this is the first time that you’ve ever heard of the French Colony of Acadia, or of the subculture that is the Acadians. Having learned of them it’s now time for you to head out and explore more about them yourself! You can read about Le Grand Dérangement, or the Great Expulsion, that happened on the heels of the Battle of Fort Beauséjour.
Would you believe that their being transported had to be done in secret by their Spanish allies? They had to keep their willingness to help them quiet else the French King become angered. The history of the Acadians is full of trial, intrigue, subterfuge, and heroism as well as a perseverance that guaranteed they’d persist into the present day. National Acadian Day is a great chance to learn about these wonderful people.