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History & Culture

Acadian Culture in the Cheticamp Area

Welcome to the section on Acadian culture.
We will try to give you a glimpse of the way of life in the Chéticamp area.
The community has almost 4,000 residents, a large number of whom are Acadians and speak French natively, as well as English. Together with its smaller neighbour, Saint-Joseph-du-Moine, Chéticamp makes up the largest Francophone enclave on Cape Breton Island.

The culture had its humble beginnings in the French countryside whence came their ancestors. Due to the fact that they were so isolated, those ancestors were careful to hold on to their culture, and to this day it is very much alive. Come listen to the unique French pronunciations, savour the succulent dishes, experience the Mi-Carême, sing and dance! Simply said, “Come on down and have fun!”

This web page will explain only those aspects of the Acadian culture which have had, and continue to have, the greatest impact on their life as Acadians: Religion, Music, Language, Cuisine, Festivals and Tapestry (Hooking)

Religion

The original Acadian settlers of Cheticamp were devout catholics. Their life revolved around the parish and the parish priest. The church was their principal meeting place and even when there were no priests, they would still meet for prayers and songs. The priests deserve credit for having been at the origin of school and hospital construction and of recruiting French-speaking teachers and nurses. Learning was not limited to academic subjects but also included music and singing. Paroisse Saint-Pierre (left), a large sandstone church built in 1893 with a central tower, open belfry and rounded apse at the rear, is a prominent structure which can be seen at some distance.

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