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We changed from our itinerary again and came back to Halifax |
to attend the annual Acadian Festival called Grou Tyme.
Along the way, we have learned a lot about the history of the Acadian people.
The territory which we now call the Canadian Maritimes was named Acadie (meaning peaceful) by Jacques Cartier in 1534. It included what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Foundland and Labrador.
The first settlement was in 1605, but it was not until 1630's that major numbers of French families started to migrate to Acadie.
Acadie was a strategic territory that lay between New France and New England. It turned out to be a perennial victim of the wars between France and England. It changed hands numerous times over the years. In 1713 the last transfer occurred when France gave it to England.
Acadians, who were French-speaking Catholics, now found themselves in a English-speaking Protestant colony that had been renamed Nova Scotia. They had to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to the British Crown or leave. The majority decided to stay and tend their farms.
By 1755, hostilities between France and England got worse, so over 10,000 Acadians were put in boats and deported either back to France or to American colonies. Many died on-board ship and in shipwrecks. Many of the Acadians went into the wilderness areas of Nova Scotia to avoid deportation. The Deportation scattered and dispersed the first pioneer people of Canada. Their farms, houses, and business were given to the British subjects.
Today there are over 500,000 Cajuns in Louisiana who are descendents of the deported Acadians.
In 1763 Acadians were allowed to return and were forced to start all over again by resettling in remote parts of the territory.
Since that time much has changed. The Acadian people in all of the Canadian provinces have united and continued to grow their own culture. They have their own flag and schools. Their schools teach in French and they make sure that the Acadian history and culture is not lost. They are a very friendly people. They have a yearly get together called "Grou Tyme" where they share their music, food, and art.
They are extremely strong in the Roman Catholic faith. As an example, their national holiday is the Feast of the Assumption, and their national anthem is Ave Maris Stella. The flag has the French colors of blue, white, and red along with a gold star in the blue field. The blue is for the Blessed Virgin. The gold star stands for their allegiance to the Pope.