For anyone with Acadian ancestry, next month will probably be the time of your family reunion. Planners expect 250,000 people to visit one or more of the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004 events. That estimate includes 70,000 to be involved with the family reunions.
Ninety-nine family reunions are planned during Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004, the World Acadian Congress, which runs from July 31 through August 15 in communities across Nova Scotia. This gathering of Acadians from around the world has been held every year since 1994.
In addition to bringing these families together, this year’s Congrès will also mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadia and the start of French colonization in America. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain established the first settlement in 1604 on Saint-Croix Island in Passamaquoddy Bay, near the mouth of the river that now divides New Brunswick from Maine. (You can read my recent newsletter article about that at http://eogn.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/07/four_hundred_ye.html.)
Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004 events include the following:
• Opening ceremonies will be held July 31st at Clare in southwest Nova Scotia to commemorate the beginning of the Acadian settlement.You can read more about Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004 at http://www.worldacadiancongress.com
• More than 130 speakers are planned for academic conferences at the Université Sainte-Anne at Church Point Aug. 1-5. They will discuss art, culture, the Acadian heritage, education, technology, communications, politics, and economics.
• On Aug. 7-8, Chéticamp will host an arts festival that will showcase modern and traditional creations. This community in northern Nova Scotia is famous for its hooked rugs.
• A Mass, closing ceremonies, and 400th anniversary concert will be held at Halifax on Aug. 15.