Author : Georges Arsenault

The well-known Acadian folklorist and historian Georges Arsenault will givean illustrated talk on two ancient and popular Acadian winter celebrations.The first is known as Chandeleur (Candlemas) and takes place on February 2.The second, called Mi-Carême, is celebrated a few weeks later in the middleof Lent.Georges Arsenault has researched the origins of these joyful traditions andhow they were observed in Acadian communities in Eastern Canada. Publishedby Acorn Press and translated by Sally Ross, the English titles of his twobooks on these winter festivities are: Acadian Traditions on Candlemas Day:Candles, Pancakes, and House Visits and Acadian Mi-Carême: Masks andMerrymaking.Candlemas Day was at one time an important religious and social festivity.Pancakes were the symbolic food of choice. In many Acadian villages, youngmen went from door-to-door collecting food either for a communal feast or togive to the poor. To celebrate Mid-Lent, people visited each other’s homesdressed up in masks and costumes, as they still do in the Chéticamp regionof Cape Breton. In some villages, a scary woman called the Mi-Carêmedistributed candies to good little children. In his presentation, Arsenaultwill trace the evolution of these traditions, highlight modern-daycelebrations, and look at the role they still play in Acadian culture.