Over the past fifty years, the Acadian people have wholeheartedly adopted the Tintamarre, a recent tradition inspired by a medieval French custom. The Tintamarre was first held in 1955 to commemorate the bicentenary of the expulsion of the Acadians from the Maritime provinces. It involves making as much noise as possible to mark a sad or joyful event. For the Acadian Fête nationale celebrated on August 15, the Tintamarre represents both the sorrow of the Grand Dérangement, a tragic event that caused many families to be separated and resulted in the deaths of many people in shipwrecks, and the joy of Acadian culture’s survival.
The Archbishop of Moncton, Monseigneur Norbert Robichaud, initiated the first Tintamarre by distributing pamphlets in which he asked parishioners in New Brunswick to go outside at 7:00 p.m. during the ringing of the church bells. He encouraged them to make noise by shouting, banging spoons on scrap metal and pots, blowing horns and whistles, ringing bells, playing musical instruments or firing guns.
The Tintamarre has evolved over time and has become a symbol of affirmation rather than mourning, particularly during the 375th anniversary of the founding of Acadia in 1979. It has become a vital part of every Acadian Fête nationale, with participants wearing makeup and costumes in the Acadian colors of blue, white, and red with a gold star. In some communities, giant puppets parade in addition to costumes and flags. Many communities have started their own Tintamarre tradition on a smaller or larger scale, from Moncton to Summerside, P.E.I., including Caraquet, and Clare and Chéticamp, N.S.
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