National Acadian Day in Canada Date in the current year: August 15, 2019

National Acadian Day in Canada National Acadian Day is observed in Canada annually on August 15. It celebrates the culture and heritage of the Acadians who are the third largest subgroup of French Canadians, after the Quebeckers and Franco-Ontarians. It was created in 1881 during the first National Convention of the Acadians that took place in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

In the beginning of 17th century, the French established a colony in northeastern North America and named it Acadia. It included the present-day Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island), parts of eastern Quebec, and Maine to the Kennebec River.

The history of Acadia was significantly influenced by colonial wars fought between New France and New England. After the War of the Spanish Succession, the belligerents signed the Peace of Utrecht, according to which France ceded most of Acadia to Great Britain. The majority of Acadians refused to pledge allegiance to the British monarchy, which eventually resulted in the forced deportation of the Acadians known as the Great Upheaval.

Today, the Acadians live predominantly in the Maritime provinces (primarily New Brunswick) and parts of Quebec. Outside of Canada, there is a significant Acadian population in the American states of Maine and Louisiana. Although the Acadians comprise only 3% of French Canadians, they are very proud of their history and culture which they celebrate on National Acadian Day.

The choice of the date for National Acadian Day was subject to debate. Some delegates insisted that it be celebrated on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), since this holiday was already celebrated by the majority of French Canadians. Others responded that the Acadians constituted a distinct ethnic group that deserved their own national day. In their opinion, the adoption of National Acadian Day would not distance them from other French Canadians.

In the end, it was decided to celebrate National Acadian Day on August 15 for it to coincide with the Feast of Assumption, since Virgin Mary is the patron saint of the Acadians. The holiday was officially adopted in 1881. More than five decades later, the Vatican ratified this choice of the date. Finally, in 2003, National Acadian Day was designated as an official holiday by the Parliament of Canada with the approval of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Acadians celebrate their national day with the Tintamarre, a big parade where people dress up in the Acadian colors (red, white and blue with gold stars) and make a lot of noise to demonstrate their pride and solidarity. Other celebratory events and activities include fairs, cultural festivals, and open-air concerts.

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Category

Cultural Observances

Country

Canada

Tags

National Acadian Day, holidays in Canada, observances in Canada, Canadian holidays, Acadians