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Acadian Flag of Canada

acadian flag - canada

What does the Acadian flag of Canada represent?

The Acadian flag was chosen in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island in 1884, during the second National Acadian Convention. It was proposed by Reverend Marcel-François Richard from Saint-Louis, New Brunswick, President of the 3rd Commission responsible for studying the choice of a national flag. Here is how he presented his choice:

"An army needs a standard. The banner of the Assumption will naturally be carried with religious patriotism at the head of our religious processions. But we must have a national flag to fly over our heads during days when we have national meetings or celebrations. Several types of flags have been proposed. I do not want to depreciate suggestions made on this subject, but I cannot agree with those who claim that we must choose a flag which is totally different from that of our motherland. The tricoloured flag is France's flag, of which we are descendants, and this flag has the right to fly throughout the entire universe according to international laws. For us, Acadians, this flag simply tells us that we are French and that France is our motherland, just like the Irish flag reminds the Irish of their origin and homeland. However, I would like Acadia to have a flag which would remind us not only that our children are French, but that they are Acadian. I therefore suggest, and propose to the delegates of this Convention, the following plan for a national flag. The tricoloured flag to be made would represent Acadia, since a yellow star would be added to the blue section. The star, representing the star of Mary, Stella Maris, would serve as a crest in the Acadian flag, the same way the Union Jack was used as a crest in the Canadian Confederation flag..." [Unofficial translation]

Reverend Marcel-François Richard had been giving a great deal of thought to the Acadian flag for several years. In 1882, during the Assumption holiday in Saint-Louis, he came up with a few ideas for an Acadian flag: "I see four flags flying in the churchyard, he told a crowd of people who had gathered, Mary's flag, the pontifical flag, the French flag and the Union Jack whose colours and nuances seem appropriate for the making of the Acadian flag." [Unofficial translation] Two years later, he presented his plan for an Acadian flag to the members of the Commission. On the afternoon of August 15, once the 3rd Commission had finished its work, Father A.-D. Cormier presented his plenary report which he finished off with the following proposal:

"It has been proposed by the Secretary and seconded by Reverend M.-F. Richard that: 'The tricoloured flag be the national flag of the French Acadians. As a distinctive mark of the Acadian nationality, a star, representing Mary, will be placed in the blue section of the flag, which is the symbolic colour of the people who are devoted to the Virgin Mary. This star, Stella Maris, that must guide the small Acadian colony through storms and pitfalls, will be yellow in order to show our sacred attachment to our mother, the Holy Church.' " [Unofficial translation]

After a speech by Reverend Richard, the proposal was put to vote and received unanimous support and enthusiasm from the crowd. During the course of the evening, while delegates were gathered in the large room of the convent to close the Convention, Reverend Richard, to their great surprise, displayed the new Acadian flag which he had asked one of his parishioners to make. It was with a great deal of emotion that the delegates saluted, for the first time ever, their national flag which was raised across from the Miscouche church the next day. Over the years, it became the most powerful symbol of cultural identity of the Acadian people.

Reverend Richard was also influential in the selection of the national holiday during the first National Acadian Convention in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

("Un peuple à unir", special issue of La Petite Souvenance to mark the Acadian flag's Centennial, 1884-1984, published by the Société historique acadienne de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard.)

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