Acadians - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Acadians have always been Roman Catholics. Their attachment to the church endured even during the difficult years of resettlement in the late eighteenth century, when church services were held only during rare visits by missionaries from Quebec. In the absence of a priest, it was customary for villagers to gather for Sunday prayers led by an elder of the community. Though adhering strictly to Roman Catholic practices, Acadians traditionally had a strong belief in sorcery, associating sorcerers with the power of the devil. There was also a strong belief that the souls of the deceased in purgatory could manifest themselves to the living. To protect themselves from evil influences, Acadians used the power of prayer, as well as holy objects and holy water, and occasionally requested a priest to perform an exorcism. With the changes in dogma the church has undergone since the 1960s, religious beliefs have tended to become more rationalized.

Religious Practitioners. Parish priests, though still highly respected figures in the community, no longer have the absolute authority they once held in Acadian society. Until the middle of the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for people to believe a priest could heal a sick person or stop a forest fire by reciting certain prayers.

Ceremonies. Christmas and Easter are the most Important religious holidays, but traditional feast days have tended to coincide with less important dates on the religious calendar. For example, a festive celebration marking the middle of the winter was held on Candlemas Day, February 2, and the third Thursday in Lent was known as Mi-Careme (Mid-Lent), with people excused from their Lenten obligations for the day. The patron saint of Acadia is Our Lady of Assumption, and August 15, Assumption Day, is the Acadian national holiday.

Arts. Acadians possess a rich oral literature consisting of songs, folktales, and legends. Ballads and tales brought from France by the original settlers have been preserved to a remarkable extent. The Acadians' propensity for music is a distinctive cultural trait, and in almost every family there are singers and musicians who play folk or country music.

Medicine. Before the middle of the twentieth century, Acadians rarely consulted professional medical practitioners. The midwife had an important role in the community, and traditional herbal medicinal cures were widely used. Regional medical clinics have now replaced the village midwife, but herbal medicine is still used in rural areas, and people considered to have the gift of stopping bleeding or curing specific ailments are commonly consulted.

Death and Afterlife. It was once customary for Acadians to hold all-night wakes in their homes, but the establishment of funeral parlors, with their set hours, has now changed the form of the wake. Acadians like to keep mementos of the dead—for example, photographs of the deceased at the Funeral parlor. The month of November used to be referred to as le mois des morts, and religious ceremonies would then take place in cemeteries. There has been a recent decline in Religious observances regarding the dead, but it is still common to celebrate a mass in memory of a deceased person on the anniversary of the death.

Also read article about Acadians from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

this was helpful for my history project due tomorrow! thankz!
Peter von Bitter
During a visit to Quebec City last week, a tour guide told us that the Acadians of todays Maritimes were distinct from, and not close to, their Quebec 'cousins' because they were mostly Huguenots, i.e. French Protestants. I had never heard this before, and doubted this, but would like to know if there is any truth to this?
Thank you
Peter von Bitter
this is very help full i cant tell how much this helped my project will be much more easier
thx i really needed this website help my whole class uses it for this project lily is in my class hi... it was kind of hard looking for the acadien music stuff
thx this helpd me on my slides and got a A+ with my friend thx
Ben Dover
This was very helpful for my project, i no longer need to get extra credit with my teacher ;)
this was very helpful for my project very descriptive for the Acadiens religious beliefs.

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