Tag: canjun

anything on canjun cultures in lousisana?

Question by freza j: anything on canjun cultures in lousisana?
foods, religon, music

Best answer:

Answer by pusskat1
First of all it’s “Cajun” — capital C, one “n” at the end, and it’s “Louisiana” — capital L, one “s”.

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Acadiana Flag
Total population 1990 US census: 597,729[1]

Regions with significant populations United States:[2]

Eastern Texas:
56,000 (est.)
Other U.S. states:
91,000 (est.)

Language Cajun French, English
Religion Predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups French


This article is about an ethnic culture. For other uses, see Cajun (disambiguation).

The Cajuns are an ethnic group consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles and other peoples with whom the Acadians eventually intermarried on the semitropical frontier, including Louisianians of Spanish, German, and French Creole heritage. Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana’s population, and have exerted an enormous impact on the state’s culture.

Ethnic group of national origin

Descending from Acadian exiles, the Cajuns retain a unique dialect of the French language and numerous other cultural traits that distinguish them as an ethnic group.

Cajuns were officially recognized by the U.S. government as a national ethnic group in 1980 per a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court. Presided over by Judge Edwin Hunter, the case, known as Roach v. Dresser Industries Valve and Instrument Division (494 F.Supp. 215, D.C. La., 1980), hinged on the issue of the Cajuns’ ethnicity. Significantly, Judge Hunter held in his ruling that:

“We conclude that plaintiff is protected by Title VII’s ban on national origin discrimination. The Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) is alive and well. He is “up front” and “main stream.” He is not asking for any special treatment. By affording coverage under the “national origin” clause of Title VII he is afforded no special privilege. He is given only the same protection as those with English, Spanish, French, Iranian, Czechoslavakian, Portuguese, Polish, Mexican, Italian, Irish, et al., ancestors.”

The word “Cajun” is the anglicised pronunciation of Cadien (the truncated form of Acadian in French). There is some dispute over the origin of the term Acadia; some suggest that it came from the name of the ancient Greek region of Arcadia; others suggest that it is a derivation of the Mikmaq Indian word cadique, meaning “a good place to set up camp.”

[edit] Ancestors and history

Contrary to popular belief, Cajuns do not descend solely from Acadian exiles who settled in south Louisiana in the eighteenth century. They also descend from other ethnic groups with whom those exiles intermarried over many generations, including Spanish, German, and French Creole settlers. Indeed, historian Carl A. Brasseaux has asserted that it was this process of intermarriage that created the Cajuns in the first place.[3] Some Cajun parishes, such as Evangeline and Avoyelles, possess relatively very few inhabitants of Acadian origin. Instead, their populations descend in many cases from settlers who migrated to the region from Quebec, Mobile, or directly from France. Regardless, it is generally acknowledged that Acadian influences have prevailed in most sections of south Louisiana.

The Acadians were evicted from Nova Scotia in the period 1755 – 1763; this has become known as the Great Upheaval or Le Grand Dérangement. At the time there was a war going on in what is now Canada between France and Great Britain over the colony of New France. This war is known in the United States as the French and Indian War, though it is generally considered only one theater of the Seven Years’ War.

The Acadians were scattered throughout the eastern seaboard (where some became slaves in British colonies), the Caribbean, and Europe. Families were split and put on different ships with different destinations. Many ended up in French-colonized Louisiana, mainly in the American South. France had ceded the colony to Spain in 1762, prior to their defeat by Britain, and two years before the first Acadians began settling in Louisiana. The interim French officials provided land and supplies. The Spanish governor, Bernardo de Gálvez, later proved to be hospitable, permitting the Acadians to continue to speak their language, practice Roman Catholicism—which was also the official religion of Spain—and otherwise pursue their livelihoods with minimal interference. Some families and individuals did travel north through the Louisiana territory to set up homes as far north as Wisconsin. Cajuns fought in the Revolutionary War for America’s freedom. Although they fought for Spanish General Galvez, their contribution to the winning of the war has been recognized.[4] “Galvez leaves New Orleans with an army of Spanish regulars and the Louisiana militia made up of 600 Cajun volunteers and captures the British strongholds of Fort Bute at Bayou Manchac, across from the Acadian settlement at St. Gabriel. And on September 21, they attack and capture Baton Rouge” A review of the list of members shows many common Cajun names participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge and the Battle for West Florida. The [1] Galvez Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in memory of those soldiers. Their fight against the British was partially in response to their treatment by the British in evicting them from Acadie.

The Cajuns who settled in southern Louisiana originally did so in the area just west of what is now New Orleans, mainly along the Mississippi River. Later, they were moved by the Spanish colonial government to areas west and southwest of New Orleans, in a region later named Acadiana, where they shared the swamps and prairies with the Attakapa and Chitimacha Native American tribes.[citation needed]

Cajuns have come to represent a mixed population, having intermarried with other groups over two centuries. Non-Acadian French Creoles in rural areas were absorbed into Cajun communities.

Many Cajuns also have ancestors who were not French. German colonists began to settle in Louisiana before the Louisiana Purchase, particularly on the German Coast along the Mississippi River north of New Orleans. People of Spanish origin, including many Canary Islanders have settled along the Gulf Coast, and in some cases intermarried into Cajun families.[citation needed] Anglo-American settlers in the region often were assimilated into Cajun communities, especially those who arrived before the English language became predominant in southern Louisiana.

One obvious result of this cultural mixture is the variety of surnames that are common among the Cajun population. Surnames of the original Acadian settlers (which are documented) have been augmented by French and even non-French family names that have merged into Cajun populations. The spelling of many family names was changed for a variety of reasons (see, for example, Eaux ). [citation needed]

Mostly secluded until the early 1900s, Cajuns today are assimilated into the mainstream society and culture. Some Cajuns live in communities outside of Louisiana. Also, some people identify themselves as Cajun culturally despite lacking Acadian ancestry.

For more details on this topic, see History of the Acadians.

[edit] Modern preservation and renewed connections

During the early part of the 20th century, attempts were made to suppress Cajun culture by measures such as forbidding the use of the Cajun French language in schools. During World War II, Cajuns often served as French interpreters for American forces in France; this helped to overcome prejudice.[citation needed]

In 1968 the organization of Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was founded to preserve the French language in Louisiana.

Besides advocating for their legal rights, Cajuns also recovered for themselves a sense of ethnic pride and appreciation for their ancestry. Since the mid-1950s, relations between the Cajuns of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Acadians in the Maritimes and New England have been renewed, forming an Acadian identity common to Louisiana, New England, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

State Senator Dudley LeBlanc (“Coozan Dud”, a Cajun slang nickname for “Cousin Dudley”) took a group of Cajuns to Nova Scotia in 1955 for the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the expulsion. The Le Congrès Mondial Acadien, a large gathering of Acadians and Cajuns held every five years since 1994, is another example of continued unity.

Sociologists Jacques Henry and Carl L. Bankston III have maintained that the preservation of Cajun ethnic identity is a result of the social class of Cajuns. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, “Cajuns” came to be identified as the French-speaking rural people of Southwestern Louisiana. Over the course of the twentieth century, the descendants of these rural people became the working class of their region. This change in the social and economic circumstances of families in Southwestern Louisiana created nostalgia for an idealized version of the past. Henry and Bankston point out that “Cajun,” which was formerly considered an insulting term, became a term of pride among Lousianians by the beginning of the twenty-first century.[5]

[edit] Culture
The 22 parishes of Acadiana. The Cajun heartland of Louisiana is highlighted in darker red.
The 22 parishes of Acadiana. The Cajun heartland of Louisiana is highlighted in darker red.

[edit] Geographical impacts

Main article: Acadiana

Geography had a strong correlation to Cajun lifestyles. The Cajuns who settled along bayous and wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin adapted a water-based lifestyle that included fishing, hunting, and trapping. The Cajuns who settled in the prairies of southwest Louisiana found the land more suited to raising cattle, farming rice and sugar cane, and other agricultural aspects.

Most Cajuns originated in Acadiana, where their descendants are still predominant. Cajun populations today are found also in the area south of New Orleans and scattered in areas adjacent to the French Louisiana region, such as to the north in Alexandria, Louisiana and in Southeastern Texas. Over the years, many Cajuns also migrated to the Golden Triangle area of Southeast Texas, especially in larger numbers as they followed oil-related jobs in the 1970s and 1980s, when oil companies moved jobs from Louisiana to Texas. This has helped spread the Cajun culture wider along the Gulf Coast.

[edit] Music

Main article: Cajun music

Cajun music is rooted in the music of the French-speaking Catholics of Canada and transformed to a unique sound of the Cajun culture. In earlier years the fiddle was the predominant instrument, but gradually the accordion has come to share the limelight.

For more details on this topic, see Music of Louisiana.

[edit] Food

Main article: Cajun cuisine

According to an expression of the region, Cajuns live to eat. Outside Louisiana the distinctions between Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine have been blurred. However, Creole dishes tend to be more continental, although using local produce. Cajun food is more seasoned, sometimes spicy, and tends to be more hearty. Many well-known Cajun dishes were originally centered on wild game, rice and other local ingredients.

[edit] Language

Main article: Cajun French

Cajun French is a variety or dialect of the French language spoken primarily in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. At one time there were as many as seven different dialects spread across the Cajun Heartland.

Recent work has also been conducted on Cajun English, a French-influenced variety of English spoken by Cajuns, either as a second language, in the case of the older members of the community, but also as a first language by younger Cajuns.

[edit] Religious traditions

Cajuns are predominantly Roman Catholic. However, Protestant and Evangelical Christian denominations have made inroads among Cajuns. Traditional Catholic religious observances such as Mardi Gras, Lent, and Holy Week are integral to many Cajun communities.

Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” (also known as Shrove Tuesday), is the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting and reflection in preparation for Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras was historically a time to use up the foods that were not to be used during Lent, including fat, eggs, and meat. Mardi Gras celebrations in rural Acadiana are distinct from the more widely known celebrations in New Orleans and other metropolitan areas. The celebration centers on the courir (translated: to run). A group of people, usually on horseback, will approach a farmhouse and ask for something for the community gumbo pot. Often, the farmer or his wife will allow the riders to have a chicken, if they can catch it. The group then puts on a show, comically attempting to catch the chicken set out in a large open area. Songs are sung, jokes are told, and little skits are acted out. When and if the chicken is caught, it is duly added to the pot at the end of the day. The “Courir de Mardi Gras” held in the small town of Mamou has become well known. This tradition has much in common with the observance of La Chandeleur, or Candlemas (February 2), by Acadians in Nova Scotia.

On Pâcques (French for Easter), a traditional Cajun game was played called pâcquer, or pâcque-pâcque. Contestants selected hard-boiled eggs, paired off, and tapped the eggs together — the player whose egg did not crack was declared the winner. Today Easter is celebrated in the same fashion as Christians throughout the United States with candy-filled baskets, “Easter bunny” stories, dyed eggs, and egg hunts.

[edit] Folk beliefs

One folk custom is belief in a traiteur, or Cajun healer, whose primary method of treatment involves using bare hands. An important part of Cajun folk religion, the traiteur is a faith healer who combines Catholic prayer and medicinal remedies to treat a variety of ailments, including earaches, toothaches, warts, tumors, angina, and bleeding. Another is in the Rougarou, a version of a Loup Garou or a French werewolf, that will hunt down and kill Catholics that do not follow the rules of Lent.

[edit] Celebrations and gatherings

Cajuns, along with other Cajun Country residents, have a reputation for a joie de vivre (French for “hearty enjoyment of life”), in which hard work is appreciated as much as “passing a good time.”

Community gatherings
In the culture, a coup de main is an occasion when the community gathers in order to assist one of their members with time-consuming or arduous tasks. Examples might include a barn raising, harvests, or assistance for the elderly or sick.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, is a cliché phrase of the local culture, which means “let the good times roll.” Nearly every village, town and city of any size has a yearly festival, celebrating an important part of the local economy. The majority of Cajun festivals include a fais-do-do or street dance, usually to a live local band. Crowds at these festivals can range from a few hundred to more than 100,000.

For more details on this topic, see List of festivals in Louisiana.

Other festivals outside of Louisiana

* In Texas, the Winnie Rice Festival and other celebrations often highlight the Cajun influlence in Southeast Texas.

* A major Cajun/Zydeco festival is held annually in Rhode Island, which does not have a sizable Cajun population but is home to many Franco-Americans of Québecois and Acadian descent. It features Cajun culture and food, as well as authentic Louisiana musical acts both famous and unknown, drawing attendance not only from the strong Cajun/Zydeco music scene in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York City, but from all over the world. In recent years the festival became so popular that there are now several such large summer festivals near the Connecticut-Rhode Island border: The Great Connecticut Cajun and Zydeco Music & Arts Festival, The Blast From The Bayou Cajun and Zydeco Festival, and the Rhythm & Roots Festival.

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