Acadian culture is known for its warmth, its vibrance and fantastic "Joie de Vivre". Discover 6 ways to authentically experience Nova Scotia’s fun Acadian culture off the beaten paths:
1. Attend a fun-filled Acadian Kitchen Party:
Traditionally this was a friendly informal gathering involving a few families to share a good meal and a good time together. They would typically gather in the warmest room of the home, the kitchen, and would share a hearty meal, cooked in a large pot, such as an Acadian Chicken Fricot or a Seafood chowder. Kitchen parties also always include a hefty dose of upbeat and lively music. This was not necessarily a time to show off one's musical talent, but rather to invite everyone to join a fun collective musical production: a folk guitar or a fiddle will lead, accompanied by other improvised instruments such as spoons, salt and pepper shakers, or simply clapping hands and tapping toes. The spirit of Acadian Kitchen Parties still exists today, although they have come to include larger gatherings allowing others to experience these formidably fun cultural events. Find out from local Visitor Centres if there are any Acadian Kitchen Parties taking place during your stay, and treat yourself to a fantastic time with friendly locals, who'll be happy to help you enjoy your first Acadian Kitchen Party!
2. Get the best of Acadia's music scene:
As an unforgettable feature of Acadian festivals and cultural events throughout Nova Scotia, Acadian music is closely associated with fiddle music as it's heavily influenced by Folk, Rural Country and Bluegrass music. Herb LeBlanc, Johnny Comeau, Jackie Comeau, Joe Cormier, Kenneth Saulnier, and Marcel Aymar typically showcase some wonderfully upbeat Acadian music. However, it now also includes a more diversified register: artists such as P’tit Belliveau, Sylvie Boulianne, Peanut Butter Sunday and many others are Acadian artists from Nova Scotia who have introduced their very own musical style, celebrating their distinct way of living in French in the process.
Enjoy a wealth of Acadian music by listening to local Acadian and French-speaking radios :
➡️ Oui CKRH (Halifax 98.5FM)
➡️ ICI Radio-Canada Première (Halifax 92.3FM),
➡️ CiFA (Baie Sainte Marie 104.1FM),
➡️ CKJM (Cheticamp 106.1FM),
➡️ CITU (Isle Madame 104.1FM).
3. Where there’s Acadian music, there’s Acadian Square dance:
An easily-recognizable and fun way to enjoy Acadian music is by square dancing (“Danse Carrée”). Impress your family and friends by learning this traditional dance which dates all the way back to the 19th century. Connect to past times by learning this dance which was typically performed at parish events, private celebrations and picnics in the early times of Acadia. Modern dances became increasingly popular from the 1950s onwards calling for the steep decline of traditional square dance. The tradition persists however with the help of Acadian festivals, cultural events and workshops organized by a handful of Acadian Dance and Music schools in Nova Scotia, including the Raveston Music School in Cape Breton. Indulge in a fantastically fun time learning this proudly Acadian tradition and enjoy showing off your skills!
4. Clam digging and cooking freshly-caught lobster directly on the beach!
In Baie Sainte-Marie (Clare region), savouring fresh seafood is an Acadian bucket-list experience that combines coastal exploration, culinary delights, and a genuine glimpse into Acadian culture: treat yourself to the authentic and fun-filled Acadian tradition of clam digging on the beautiful beaches of Baie Sainte Marie, Nova Scotia. Just like generations of Acadians have done throughout the ages, uncover the hidden delights of the shoreline, harvest fresh clams with your own hands and enjoy the bearings of your hard work. Indulge in the freshest lobster, prepared in true Acadian style directly on the Baie Sainte Marie beaches with SeaRoots Dining, and experience a juicy fresh lobster beachside feast to accompany the stunning ocean views. This immersive experience allows you to connect with the rich maritime heritage of the Acadian people, savouring the flavours and traditions passed down through generations.
5. Ancestral Acadian Rug-hooking
Savour an enthralling discovery of Acadian rug-hooking in the picturesque Acadian region of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. Immerse yourself in the artistry and craftsmanship of this traditional Acadian textile technique, with skilled artisans to guide you through the intricate process of creating hand-hooked rugs at Trois Pignons Cultural Centre (often available during the Celtic Colours Festival) or by using self-learning kits available at Proud to be Lola's Hookers. Discover the rich woven cultural heritage as you explore motifs and designs inspired by Acadian folklore and natural landscapes. Engage with the local community, explore the stories and traditions, and gain a deeper understanding of this time-honoured craft as you create your own masterpiece. Join in for a meaningful adventure, where creativity, tradition, and exploration intertwine along the shores of the Cabot Trail.
6. Attend amazing Acadian Festivals
Wonderfully fun-filled Acadian culture festivals await you throughout Nova Scotia. Make sure to join these events and get a joyful glimpse of the wonderful features of Acadian culture.
The colourful Escaouette festival in Chéticamp is a summer cultural event that takes place in early August and was inspired by the cultural Acadian events traditionally held during the winter months such as Candlemas. With winter weather conditions tending to discourage visits to the area, the community felt that colourful and vibrant events deserved to come to life again in the summer so that everyone could join the fun! This festival puts local Acadian heritage on the forefront by organizing a parade, as well as entertaining musical events and bringing all sorts of family-friendly cultural activities to the heart of Cheticamp for several days in early August.
At the Acadian festival in Clare (late July to early August) treat yourself to one of the oldest Acadian festivals in Nova Scotia! With a wealth of all-ages events and cultural activities, enjoy a full range of the best Acadian experiences, foods and music from Baie Sainte Marie.
Savour the freshest and juiciest clams, lobsters and crab sea suppers at the Beaux Vendredis on the Belliveau Cove Waterfront every Friday evening of summer - these come with a generously fun serving of live Acadian local music!
Have the best fun at the S’Maine Acadienne de Par en Bas (Acadian Week festival) in Par en Bas, in Argyle. A week of celebrating the community of Argyle’s fabulous Acadian heritage starting in early August and ending on the 15th of August (Quinzou), including entertaining events and immersive cultural events for all ages. Join in and unleash your Acadian spirit at this colourful event positively brimming with Acadian "joie de vivre"!
Which of these 6 ways to Experience Nova Scotia’s Fun Acadian Culture did you enjoy most? Let us know!