Ruth: Today is the Fête Nationale d’Acadie and we are spending it in Caraquet, often described as the heart of Acadian culture in New Brunswick. In the morning we hopped on our bikes and road to the nearby Acadian Historical Village. It has a fantastic collection of historic buildings that have been relocated from all over the province. Each of them has an actor in period costume who describes the original family who lived or worked in the building and provides other historical information. Unlike Upper Canada Village, where all the buildings date to one period in time, the structures at the Acadian Village date from 1770 to the 1930s.
After a short rest back at our gîte we headed downtown with our camping pots to join the hour long, deafening Tintamarre. The street is filled with costumed Acadians making as much noise possible to celebrate the survival of their culture. René Levesque described the Tintamarre with the following: Écoutez encore, c’est la vie de l’Acadie française en 1955, deux siècles après la mort qu’on prévoyait.(“Listen! It is the sound of the heartbeat of French-speaking Acadia in 1955 – two centuries after it was supposed to have been extinguished.”)
The costumes were fantastic and most of them were inspired by Acadian colours or themes. I am not sure how exactly the Simpsons, or the groups of Vikings and Rastafarians fit in, but in a true carnival spirit it brought out the theatrical in many.
When we first visited Gord’s Acadian relatives in New Brunswick in 2004, Gord spoke virtually no French. Thirteen years later Gord is not fluent but speaks French functionally. It was great to see him walking the Tintamarre and banging our camping pots enthusiastically. I am sure his mother would be proud.