I saw a tintamarre yesterday! A tintamarre is a traditional noisy parade from the Acadian culture. Saint John’s tintamarre was updated for contemporary habits, and was composed of a parade of decorated, noisy cars travelling through town to le Centre-Samuel-de-Champlain, our French community centre. Yesterday was Acadian Day, celebrating the survival of more 400 years of French culture in the Maritimes. You might also be familiar with the Acadians as “Cajuns” of Louisiana, or as “Evangeline” from Wordsworth’s poem of the same name.
The Acadian flag works well for magnets, trousers, houses, barns and mailboxes, among other things. My personal favourite is the wooden garbage carrel at the end of the driveway, painted brightly with the Acadian flag- only true pride could carry that off. Travel through any of the regional Acadian areas, and you’ll see the Acadian flag decorating almost anything. And it always looks good. Tony’s family is anglicized Acadian, but it’s still back there and pops up every once in a while with their names, fiddling and step dancing, and traditions like meat pies for Christmas Eve. It saddens me that this little magnet and an old t-shirt from a family reunion is basically all that remains of Acadian culture in our household, but it seeps through in other ways because contemporary Acadie is part of every New Brunswicker’s life, even if it’s only because every day, we get to pick which language we want to use. And it’s perfectly OK if we want to mix it up.