August 15th Celebrations
The choice of a national celebration was the main focus of the National Convention of Memramcook in 1881. That question dominated the discussions. The delegates considered several propositions but the debate was mostly between the Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the French-Canadians national holiday which is celebrated on June 24th, and Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, which is celebrated on August 15th.
An animated discussion took place. The partisans of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste were of a mind that a common celebration for all French-speaking Canadians would unite them around common objectives, thus challenging the Anglophone majority of the country. They wished to see the relations between Acadia and Québec grow stronger.
However, the supporters of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption affirmed that the history and nationality of the Acadians was different from that of the French-Canadians; therefore, what was needed was a celebration reflecting the unique national identity of the Acadians. The fact that France was under the auspices of the Virgin Mary under Louis XIII, when Acadia was founded, was the main argument presented in favour of this holiday during the debates.
Several speeches were given during the debate, one by Father Marcel-François Richard, athe leading advocate of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. His eloquent plea, along with the ones from those who shared his opinion, has more than likely influenced the decision, since a tight majority voted in favour of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. Afterwards, at the invitation of the president, everybody showed their approval by standing to acclaim the choice of symbol.