Symbols of Acadia

The symbols such as coats of arms, flags and mottos serve as identification tools to countries, nations, groups, institutions, families and individuals. Those symbols reflect their history, their values and their traditions.
The first Acadian nationalists introduced the first symbols of their cultural identity to Acadia. At the Acadian National Convention held in 1881 in Memramcook, New Brunswick, the delegates chose a date to celebrate the Acadian culture and heritage. At the second Acadian National Convention which was held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, in 1884, they chose a flag, a national anthem, a motto and an insignia. Those symbols have become a way to stimulate the sense of belonging of the Acadian people.

The Patron of the Acadian Community
Patronne de lAcadie

During the National Convention of 1881, the Acadian delegates assembled in Memramcook elect Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, as patron saint of the Acadian collectivity. It is not surprising that the Acadian people places itself under the protection of the Virgin Mary since France, under the reign of Louis XIII, is devoted to Mary at the time of the foundation of Acadia.

 

 

Acadian National Day
DSC 0012 edited-1

During the National Convention of 1881, the Acadian delegates assembled in Memramcook elect Marie, Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, as patron saint of the Acadian collectivity. It is not surprising that the Acadian people places itself under the protection of the Virgin Mary since France, under the reign of Louis XIII, is devoted to Mary at the time of the foundation of Acadia.

The National Convention in Memramcook also leads to the adoption of a date to celebrate Acadian National Day. Following several lively debates, the delegates agree on the birth day of Marie, Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, Patron Saint of Acadia, which is celebrated on August 15th.

 

 The Acadian Flag

Drapeau acadien

During the National Convention in Miscouche, the delegates adopt a flag and opt for the French tricolor, with a golden star in the blue section.The proposition explains the significance of the flag: "That the tricolor be the national flag of the French-Acadians. As a distinctive emblem of the Acadian nationality, a star will be placed, Mary's sign, in the blue section, which is the symbolic colour of the people devoted to the Virgin Mary. That star, Stella Maris, which must guide the small Acadian colony through stormy weather and reefs, will be of papal colours to show their inviolable attachment to the Holy Church, our Mother." (Le Moniteur acadien, August 28th, 1884)

 

Acadian National Anthem

In 1884, at the second Acadian National Convention, held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, Maris Stella is selected as the Acadian National Anthem. At the raising of the flag which the Acadians have just chosen, the French tricolor adorned with a golden star, Father Richard sings that song so well known by all. Proposed by Pascal Poirier, carried by the assembly, the Ave Maris Stella will serve, from now on, to rally the people with a unifying song.

Subsequently, that choice will be questioned for various reasons, amongst others, some people do not like that a church song is used during festivities where alcohol is served. Other songs are suggested, but none are retained. In 1984, one hundred years later, the question has still not been answered, and it is still the Ave Maris Stella that is sung, even in Latin, during patriotic celebrations.

In 1994, the Société Nationale de l'Acadie launches a contest inviting the public to write a French version of the 'Ave Maris Stella'. The lyrics by Jacinthe Laforest, journalist at La Voix acadienne (a weekly publication from Prince Edward Island), are chosen. The French version is sung for the first time at the closing ceremonies of the first Congrès mondial acadien, by author-composer-performer Lina Boudreau. Here are the lyrics of the French version, sung to the tune of 'Ave Maris Stella':

Ave Maris Stella
Dei Mater Alma
Atque Semper Virgo
Felix Coeli Porta (bis)

Acadie ma patrie
À ton nom je me lie
Ma vie, ma foi sont à toi
Tu me protégeras (bis)

Acadie ma patrie
Ma terre et mon défi
De près, de loin tu me tiens
Mon cœur est acadien (bis)

Acadie ma patrie
Ton histoire je la vis
La fierté je te la dois
En l'avenir je crois (bis)

Ave Maris Stella
Dei Mater Alma
Atque Semper Virgo
Felix Coeli Porta (bis)

Évangéline - A Fictional Character

Évangéline is the best known Acadian heroine that literature has produced. In the last decades of the 19th Century and the first part of the 20th Century, she raises a collective awareness among a great many Acadians searching for a sense of belonging to a cultural identity.

The poem “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadia”, from American author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published in 1847. He relates the love story between two young Acadians, Évangéline and Gabriel, who grew up in the village of Grand-Pré. He describes that part of the world as a land of peace and abundance, an earthly paradise, the Arcadia of the New World. That paradise is lost during the tragic events of the Deportation (1755-1763).

The engaged couple is separated, placed in two different boats that are transporting their human cargo towards British Colonies along the Atlantic coast which will later become the United States of America.

evengeline 

In the second part of the poem, Évangéline searches for her fiancé, Gabriel. After many years of peregrinations, she ends up in Philadelphia and finally renounces to the search for her love. She then becomes a nun in the order of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Evron and she devotes herself in serving the needs of the sick and neediest people of the city. After some time, an outbreak of smallpox plagues the population. Among the sick brought to the hospital where she works, one day Évangéline recognizes her Gabriel. Her love, dying, passes away in her arms. Heartbroken, our heroine will not survive her fiancé by long.

In the poem, Évangéline is described as being loyal, modest, altruistic, faithful, patient and pious. In short, she was seen as the ideal Victorian lady. Her courage, hardships and undying love for Gabriel conquered the admiration and respect of generations of readers, in Acadia and around the world.

Source: snacadie.org

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