Cajun Culture Essay

Cajun Culture Essay

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Nous sommes Acadiens. (We are Acadians.) Some outsiders see us as a quaint, virtuous people, spending a great deal of time singing, dancing, praying, and visiting? (Conrad, 1978, p.14). Others see us as independent and unsophisticated. We see ourselves as fun-loving, carefree, happy, proud people who have a great love for our culture. The Acadians were French settlers of eastern Canada who were exiled from their land in the 1750?s. The Acadians are known to have settled in the southern bayou lands of Louisiana around that time. The Acadiana people acquired their nickname, ?Cajuns,? from those people who could not pronounce Acadians correctly. Due to the opinion that Cajuns were ?different?, they lived close together and became isolated from others in Louisiana. They have since developed their own distinct characteristics which make them unique and unlike no others in the bayou state. Family, music, housing, food, marriages, and ?traiteurs? were all a part of the simple but challenging lifestyle of the Cajuns.

The early Cajuns did not have a social life as we know it today. Occasionally, they would attend dances, but family and friends were their main source of fun and relaxation. Because of the hardships of not being able to travel long distances, the Cajuns would gather with family for Sunday dinners and special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. One of their favorite pastimes was to gather, play cards, and sing. The families spent an extreme amount of time together. They shared their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with each other. Most importantly, they needed each other. The desire to be with family is one of the unique factors that has kept the Cajun identity so strong through time and troubles (Hebert, 1997). ...


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... ?gris-gris? or hex existed as a common belief and no one questioned their abilities. The ones who practiced this were known as ?traiteurs?. Traiteurs were greatly respected and thought to be very reliable. They were used for minor ailments when doctors were not available. The term ?traiteurs? means ?treator? and originated from the French (Post, 1974). As long as Cajuns lived in Louisiana so have these ?traiteurs? and they will forever be a part of Cajun culture.

The challenging and interesting life of a Cajun is characterized by family, music, housing, food, wedding, and ?traiteurs?, just to name a few. Cajun life began in the 1700?s and still exists today. Though a bit has changed since the early Cajuns arrived, the culture is still thriving. Acadiana is the best place to have a taste of the true Cajun culture and forever will be a colorful part of history.

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Cajun Culture Essay

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