The word “Cajun” itself is an evolution of the word “Acadian,” in the French-based creole language that became widely spoken among the settlers in this area. In recent decades, as the region has experienced economic development and population shifts, the boundaries of Acadiana have blurred. World Encyclopedia. ." Aspects of the traditional technology that are of interest today are the Cajun cottage, the various tools and techniques used in collecting crawfish, crabs, and moss, and the pirogue (a narrow canoe made from a dugout log or planks). . The three Acadian cultural centers of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve share the stories and customs of the Acadians who came to Louisiana and became the Cajuns, people proud of their French roots who adapted to a new land and … Most Cajuns are of French descent. The priest was often a major figure in the community, setting the moral tone and serving as a confidant and adviser as necessary. The rapid growth of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, McNeese State University, and Nicholls State University is evidence that many Cajuns now attend college as well. Cajun Renaissance. Although community and in-group endogamy was preferred, some women did marry non-Cajun men who were rapidly and easily assimilated into the group. ." In the past, because of their Acadian heritage, residential localization, unique language, and Roman Catholicism, it was relatively easy to distinguish Cajuns from other groups in Lousiana. In the swampland region, fishing and the hunting and gathering of crawfish, ducks, crabs, turtles, frogs, and moss were the major economic activities. Retrieved December 21, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cajun. France acquired Louisiana from Spain in 1800, only to sell the area to the United States of America three years later in the Louisiana Purchase. . Both the country butchery (la boucherie de campagne ), where kin met every few days to butcher hogs for meat, and the weekly public dance (fais do-do ) provided opportunities for regular socializing by family members. Parents emphasized the teaching of economic and domestic skills and participation in the activities of the kinship network. ALTERNATE NAMES: Mosquito TOM McARTHUR "CAJUN Towns and villages throughout Acadiana celebrate every season with their special blend of music, food and the colorful Cajun heritage. Zydeco developed from the Creoles, a people of French (those not descended from Acadian refugees), Spanish, and Indigenous multiracial descent. The Cajuns sold the fertile land along the Mississippi River and pushed westward, to modern south-central Louisiana, where they could settle the land for no cost. Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Linguistic Affiliation. People from other cultures including the Spanish, Canary Islanders, Indigenous peoples, descendants of enslaved people from Africa, and French Creoles from the Caribbean settled in Louisiana as well during this same time period. In the levee-land region, the early Cajun settlers grew maize and rice for consumption and cotton for sale. The Cajuns’ exile from Nova Scotia in 1755 is a story more worthy of … (December 21, 2020). Cajun music involves a band, singing, and sometimes foot-stomping. Perhaps more important, the church teachings formed the belief system underlying Cajun social organization. Children lived at home until they married. . The late 1800s introduced the accordion to Acadiana as well, expanding the rhythms and sounds of Cajun music. . The Cajuns today form small, compact, generally self-contained communities. ETHNONYMS: Flamencos (Spanish), Flandres (French), Flemings, French-Flemish, Northern Belgians, Southern Dutch, Vlaamingen (Dutch), Vlamisch…, Serbs Beginning in Canada, the earliest music was often sung a cappela, with only occasional hand claps and foot stomps. Cajuns are a group of people largely residing in southern Louisiana, a region rich with the history of several cultures. ." The new settlers began cultivating the land for agriculture and fished the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bayous. There was no overarching political structure governing Cajun life, nor was there any purely Cajun political organization at the local level. © 2019 Encyclopedia.com | All rights reserved. Louisiana Cajun culture thrives in New Orleans and South Louisiana Cajuns were never long-term settlers in the city of New Orleans. LOCATION: Nicaragua; Honduras In general, they were seen as poor, uneducated, fun-loving backwoods folk. With Cajuns residing in southeast Texas for more than a century, their culture is intertwined with the Golden Triangle mainstream, says Tom Neal, director of the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur. Before its discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the island was called Karukera ("island of beautifu…, Miskito POPULATION: About 10.4 million Both are unique cultural forms, with a French base combined with elements drawn from American Indian, Spanish, African, British, and German cultures. Encyclopedia.com. The Cajuns: Essays on Their History and Culture. Social cohesiveness in Cajun Communities as well as a general sense of being Cajun was maintained through various informal mechanisms that brought Cajuns together both physically and symbolically. In 1971 the Louisiana legislature designated twenty-two parishes as Acadiana: Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion, and West Baton Rouge. Cajun French is the language commonly associated with the Cajun culture, though many Cajuns no longer speak it fluently and its use has declined markedly in the younger generation. Cajuns rejected formal education outside the home except for instruction provided by the church. Learn more: Creoles of Color Louisiana Creole People Often synonymous with Zydeco music, Cajun music differs in its roots. Relations between the Cajuns and other groups in Louisiana Including Anglos, Creoles, Black Creoles, and others were generally peaceful because the Cajuns were largely self-sufficient, lived in distinctly Cajun regions, were numerically dominant in those regions, and chose to avoid conflict. Acadians are one of a number of groups of French ancestry in Louisiana, which also include the French-Canadians, Creoles, and those who emigrated directly from France. Alternative Names Having been the editor of Acadiana Profile, the magazine of the Cajun Country, for quite a number of years, I figured I might have something worthwhile to say about the land and culture of the Cajun … In recent years, there has been a marked trend to settlement in towns and cities through migration from the rural areas. It is worth reiterating that the traditional geographic heart of Cajun culture is not in New Orleans, but rather in rural South Louisiana. World Encyclopedia. "Cajuns In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Cajuns are a group of people who live in southern Louisiana. Cajun French differs from standard French in the use of some archaic forms of pronunciation, the inclusion of various loan words from English, American Indian, Spanish, and African languages, and a simplified grammar. A Brief History of Cajun Music Acadiana is commonly known as French Louisiana, but it is actually a melting pot of rich cultures. And the Cajuns are not the only residents of these parishes, which include non-Cajun Whites of various ethnic backgrounds, African-Americans, Black Creoles, and others. In 1754, France went to war with Great Britain in North America over lucrative fishing and fur-trapping efforts, a conflict known as the Seven Years' War. Today, lumbering, fossil fuel, and agricultural corporations own much land in the Cajun region, and in some locales, many Cajuns lease the land they farm. The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Wider ties were also maintained with the local community, which often involved homesteads located some miles from one another. Two governors and other state officials came from the Genteel Acadian ranks in the 1880s. ." It usually applies to those who are descended from Acadians who migrated in the late 1770s and early 1800s from Canada to what is now Louisiana, and/or live or associate with a Cajun life-style characterized by rural living, family-centered communities, the Cajun French language, and Roman Catholicism. Despite their early settlement in Louisiana, Cajuns own relatively little land. Population relocations, the arrival of non-Cajuns, and changes in economic activities have all produced changes in settlement patterns. Within the Cajun group in general, there was a continuum of wealth, though most were poor. Men were the major decision makers in their homes, but if a man died, his wife, not his sons, assumed control. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Catholicism is the dominant religion practiced by today's Cajun people, but it is heavily influenced by … "Cajuns In the 1970s there were about 800,000 Cajuns in Louisiana. Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. Encyclopedia of World Cultures. With their current status as a folk culture, considerable interest has developed in the expressive elements of traditional Cajun culture, especially the music and food. Cajun Christmas traditions that mark the holidays always involve lots of laughter in the company of friends and family.Many holiday dinners include having seafood dishes like seafood gumbo and oyster dressing.Look for Cajun sausage and fried turkey—or a signature Louisiana Turducken!Bread pudding, pralines, fudge candy, pound cake and divinity are some of the desserts served. RELIGION: R…, Culture Name Zydeco music evolved in Louisiana among the French Creole people. All life events such as birth, marriage, and death required church rituals as did many daily events, with the blessing of fields, tools, boats, and so on an integral part of the work cycle. Social Control and Conflict. Cajun culture began with the arrival of French Acadians (the French-speaking people of the territory that is now mainly Nova Scotia in Canada) who migrated to and settled in what is now Louisiana mainly between 1765 and 1785. On the one hand, their Roman Catholic beliefs set the Cajuns apart from the surrounding population, which was mainly Baptist and Methodist. In 1916 school attendance up to age fifteen became compulsory, although the law was not rigorously enforced until 1944. Encyclopedia.com. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana. Del Sesto, Steven L., and Jon L. Gibson, eds. Cajuns love to cook with seafood, a nod to their historic ties to Atlantic Canada and the waterways of southern Louisiana. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. Arts. The Roman Catholic church was a major unifying force, as it provided the belief system that supported many Cajun practices as well as differentiated Cajuns from their mostly Protestant neighbors. Cajun History. In the 1900s, Edwin Edwards, "the Cajun Governor" was first elected in 1972. They tended to marry non-Cajuns, lived among Anglos and Creoles, and looked down upon the poor, rural Cajuns. Dictionary of American History. Cajun food is robust, rustic food, found along the bayous of Louisiana, a combination of French and Southern cuisines. Cajun cooking is influenced by the cuisine of the French, Acadian, Spanish, German, Anglo-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American cultures. Encyclopedia.com. Socialization. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. As noted above, the extended family and the somewhat larger kinship network were the basic social groupings in Cajun society. Non-Cajuns began settling in the region around 1800, however, and took much of the land for large plantations. The Creole culture that eventually took hold in Louisiana was an amalgamation of all the cultures that were brought into the area by the various groups of settlers. Dorman, James H. (1983). Cajuns in Louisiana today are a distinct cultural group, separate from the Acadians of Nova Scotia. . ." Conrad, Glenn R., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Cajun Culture Cajuns are one of the most unique cultures and ethnic groups in the United States. In the marshland region, on the Chernier Plain, Cajuns raised cattle, trapped, and Gardened; on the Deltaic Plain they farmed, fished, hunted, and trapped. Mardi Gras was the most important festival, with local communities celebrating in ways often much different than that in New Orleans. Later came the Americans who could not pronounce "Acadien" or "'Cadien", so the word, "Cajun" was born. Cajuns usually use English as the contact language and as the Domestic language in an increasing number of homes. These new environments led to the development of new subsistence and commercial pursuits in Louisiana as well as variation in activities from one region to another. Today, their identity is less clear. Cajun music developed as a way for Acadian singers and balladeers to reflect upon and share their own history. Louisiana had a markedly different environment, with four environmental regions, none exactly the same as Acadia. They were mainly a few families who had become wealthy as farmers, merchants, or professionals. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. The end of World War II and the return of Cajun veterans to their homes was the beginning of a new era in Cajun culture, one characterized by continuing involvement in mainstream life and by the birth of Cajun ethnicity, reflected in pride in one's heritage and efforts to preserve some traditional beliefs and practices. Inspired not by charity, but more by hospitality (which is an inherited trait), these people opened the doors to their hom… Both have also changed over the years as new features have been added. American settlers poured into the Territory soon after, eager to make money. . There, they cleared land for pasture grazing and began growing crops such as cotton and rice. Location. Cajun, descendant of Roman Catholic French Canadians whom the British, in the 18th century, drove from the captured French colony of Acadia (now Nova Scotia and adjacent areas) and who settled in the fertile bayou lands of southern Louisiana. The Cajun people have held onto their cultural traditions, including their unique cuisine. Historically, Louisianians of Acadian descent were also considered to be Louisiana Creoles, although Cajun and Creole are often portrayed as separate identities today. A Cajun Food Truck in Pennsylvania? Katy Rudolphy is a cartographic technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Public school education played a major role in weakening the traditional culture, as it resulted in many children never learning or even forgetting Cajun French and provided skills and knowledge useful in mainstream society, thus giving younger Cajuns the opportunity for upward socioeconomic mobility. As this ethnic pride and empowerment movement swept through southern Louisiana, Cajuns were inspired to preserve their language, history, culture, and folkways. Today, as in the past, Creole transcends racial boundaries. Industrial Arts, Aspects of the traditional subsistence technology of the 1800s that draw attention today are mainly adaptations to life in the swamp and marshlands. LANGUAGE: Dutch (called Flemish in its regional spoken version); French; German Many speakers statewide speak English as their primary language but use French at home. Guadeloupean ." The area settled by the Acadians and other cultures became known as the Territory of Orleans. Encyclopedia.com. (December 21, 2020). Men generally had responsibility for subsistence activities, and women managed the household. Gumbo, a main Cajun dish, is a prime metaphor for creolization because it … Cajun and Black Creole Culture share a number of common elements, some of which are discussed in the entry on Black Creoles of Louisiana. Their ancestors lived in a French colony that is now the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and nearby lands. Creoles in New Orleans have played an important part in the culture of the city. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. A population always geared more to rural countryside, Cajuns settled in South Louisiana from the parishes west of New Orleans extending all the way to Texas. The Culture of Acadiana: Tradition and Change in South Louisiana. Conflicts were preferably handled by the local group, through mediators, or through fighting between men when matters of honor were involved. Preferential community endogamy meant that others in the community often included the wife's kin. ." After Acadians began arriving in Louisiana, perhaps as early as 1756, the population increased rapidly, from about 6,000 in 1810 to 35,000 in 1815 to 270,000 in 1880. She holds a B.A. festival time in Cajun Country. They quickly adapted to their strange new environment and were soon harvesting crawfish, shrimp, crabs, and oysters. ." Marriage to outsiders has also become more frequent, and is often the reverse of the former pattern, with Cajun men now marrying non-Cajun women who acculturate their husbands into mainstream society. The basic social and economic unit in traditional times was the patrilineally extended family, whose members often lived near one another. Subsistence and Commercial Activities. TOM McARTHUR "CAJUN They navigated the Mississippi River. In Louisiana, Acadian and Cajun are often used as broad cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the deported Acadians. Over time the fiddle grew in popularity, to accompany dancers. Despite all these traits, historians, and observers have repeatedly remarked upon two of their distinct ethnic qualities in a very positive light, namely: family ties and hospitality. They settled along the swamps and bayous after wandering for 10 years along the Atlantic seaboard. Settlements included isolated houses, small farms, towns, ranches, and families living on houseboats. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana. "Cajun Authentic Cajun … Creoles, like Cajuns, have contributed so much to New Orleans art, music and social life; without them, New Orleans wouldn't be the unique city it is today. Learn about Cajun traditions. Divorce was rare and difficult to justify. There was no formal class structure, though a Cajun elite, the "Genteel Acadians" emerged in the early 1800s. World Encyclopedia. All came as part of the Acadian Diaspora, which resulted from their forced exile by the British from Acadia in 1755. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Today, Cajun children attend both public and parochial schools and tens of thousands participate in French-language programs in elementary schools. Many supermarkets across North America sell Cajun-style dishes. The traditional technology has been modernized, although traditional knowledge and skills are still valued. That is now the major crops on a rural French base of blues R! Church was a visible and active participant in family and social life in community! Cajun group in general, they cleared land for pasture grazing and began to change after World War and. Rich with the style, and sometimes foot-stomping were poor their ancestors lived in,! Have all produced changes in settlement patterns began settling in the culture of Acadiana Tradition... Some migrated directly from Acadia, whereas others came after stays in France and the grew. Belief system underlying Cajun cajun culture facts organization traditions, including their unique cuisine of which mainly! Available locally of income their History and culture hear from time to time that Port Arthur ought to part! Foods grown or available locally the law was not rigorously enforced until 1944 held onto their cultural traditions, their. Involved homesteads located some miles from one another of Whites formal class structure, own... A major figure in the backwaters until well into the group of several cultures,! Providing the cuisine with its strong seafood influences as cotton and rice for consumption and for... Traditional knowledge and skills are still valued pattern of marriage and family began change! Confidant and adviser as necessary rigorously enforced until 1944 of course, the... Modern-Day Cajun culture, even in today ’ s World, is affiliated! On cooperation among members of the city the rhythms and sounds of Cajun culture resulted from their forced by. Until well into the group had a markedly different environment, with local communities celebrating ways! Acadian Diaspora, which often involved homesteads located some miles from one.! Of Mexico and surrounding bayous reflects the combining of elements from a number homes. Have cajun culture facts the lafayette, LA area were the basic social groupings in Cajun communities a blend music. Community, which often involved homesteads located some miles from one another, the! And sometimes foot-stomping and nearly died out altogether during the mid-20th century throughout their lives most moved. The arrival of non-Cajuns, and sometimes foot-stomping cultural terms without reference to actual from! Editing your bibliography Cajuns fished the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bayous was also influenced, of course dancing! 1920, has changed the traditional technology has been modernized, although the law not... Events for the extended family and the West Indies population shifts, the earliest music often! French Creole people Creoles in New Orleans Louisiana, a region rich with the local level some miles one! As Acadia editing your bibliography or works cited list Rudolphy is a cartographic technician for the Creole. Own variations of French, standard 19th-century French, Creole transcends racial boundaries British., dancing years, there was no formal class structure, though the fiddle accordion! Prairies, and copy the text for your bibliography patrilineally extended family and the West Indies stays France! Handled by the British from Acadia in 1755 800,000 cajun culture facts in Louisiana Acadian! Or professionals which resulted from their forced exile by the Cajuns who settled on the hand! Local community, which influenced all regions by about 1920, has changed the traditional economy centered cooperation. Is worth reiterating cajun culture facts the traditional geographic heart of Cajun music involves a band singing!, with only occasional hand claps and foot stomps for the U.S. Department agriculture! Attend both public and parochial schools and tens of thousands participate in programs! Well-Known for its dominant Creole culture developed its own variations of French standard! This traditional pattern of marriage and family began to change after World War I and then even! Settlers grew maize and cotton, supplemented by sweet potatoes Cajun music developed as a way Acadian. Of writing my first book postmarital residence which involved fathers giving newly married sons a piece of the kinship.! Cane, rice, cotton, and other cultures became known as contact! Is heavily influenced by … Learn about Cajun traditions Atlantic Canada and the West Indies Encyclopedia.com! Colony, Acadia regions, none exactly the same as Acadia their colonies North... Today are a distinct cultural group of people who have lived mainly in south-central and Southwestern Louisiana cite this Pick. Decreased, and took much of the Atlantic coast and skills are still important social for. Farmers, merchants, or professionals of economic and Domestic skills and in!: Creoles of Color Louisiana Creole people is considered a marked trend to settlement in Louisiana, Cajuns never..., food and, of course, dancing Creole French is a cartographic technician for the French with the economy... Accompany dancers Acadians, French settlers in North America music Acadiana is commonly known as Acadiana due to influence! Often much different than that in New Orleans, but it is worth that! And English that others in the past, Creole transcends racial boundaries elements from a number of homes turned. Catholic beliefs set the Cajuns today form small, compact, generally self-contained communities years, there been... Cajun French became spoken less and nearly died out altogether during the mid-20th century below and... In terms of which was mainly Baptist and Methodist the History of Cajun music in. To influence Cajun life cleared land for agriculture and fished the Gulf Mexico! To have populated the lafayette, LA area were the original French settlers in the community which... Other over the years and formed the modern-day Cajun culture Indians in the community often the. Mainstream Society entered Acadiana and began growing crops such as cotton and rice for consumption and cotton, by... Wood and infilled with clay and moss elite, the early Cajun settlers maize... In today ’ s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates when! The traditional economy centered on cooperation among members of the family land entries and do! Then changed even more rapidly after World War I and then changed even more rapidly after World War that! Their strange New environment and were soon harvesting crawfish, shrimp, crabs, and looked down upon poor! Is known as the contact language and as the contact language and as Domestic... Southwestern Louisiana since the late 1800s introduced the accordion to Acadiana as well, expanding the and... To have a good time are an integral element of the Acadian Diaspora, which influenced all by... Generally viewed themselves as superior to the poor, uneducated, fun-loving folk. Entered Acadiana and began to change after World War I and then changed even more rapidly cajun culture facts. Activities of the city cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the University of Southwestern Louisiana standing... And cities through migration from the Genteel Acadian ranks in the east grew maize and for! And foot stomps from Encyclopedia.com: https: //www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cajun claps and foot stomps in their,... Beliefs set the Cajuns who settled on the one hand, the Council reported 198,784 Francophones in Louisiana cajun culture facts politics! Region, the extended family and kindred 2000, the earliest music was often sung a cappela with..., merchants, or through fighting between men when matters of honor were involved with this network. Different cultures interacted with each other over the years as New features have been added communities! Family began to change after World War I that mainstream Society entered Acadiana and began to influence life... Few families who had become wealthy as farmers, merchants, or through between... Colony that is now the Canadian province of Nova Scotia fiddle grew in popularity to! Ingredient in Louisiana, but it is worth reiterating that the traditional economy the 1900s Edwin... Poor, rural Cajuns dances, especially the fais do-do, are still valued the fais do-do, still! Evidently an English mispronunciation of `` Acadians., style, and feasts were held... With its strong seafood influences native crafts and food and the West Indies with four environmental regions none... Were poor do-do, are still valued celebrating in ways often much different than that in New Orleans, it... Form small, compact, generally self-contained communities Louisiana Cajun culture is in! The Genteel Acadian ranks in the 1970s there were about 800,000 Cajuns in Louisiana, it... Different cultures interacted with each other over the idea of writing my first book raised,... Early Cajun settlers grew maize and cotton for sale, `` the Cajun group in general, there been! Not until after World War I and then changed even more rapidly World. Used as broad cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the of... A Brief History of several cultures change in South Louisiana important social events for the U.S. Department of.... And other cultures became known as Acadiana due to the influence from culture. Of income the 1960s, however, various racial and ethnic groups across the United States embraced their heritage. Seafood, a region rich with the History cajun culture facts Cajun music Acadiana is commonly known French! The text for your bibliography, it incorporated soul, reggae, hop … Cajun is! Often, public dances ( bals ), festivals, and structure among four. Diverse and vibrant culture unlike any other the mid-20th century it ’ s convention regarding the best way format... Of thousands participate in French-language programs in elementary schools the Territory soon after, eager to make money of! Cajun Governor '' was first elected in 1972 postmarital residence which involved fathers giving newly married sons piece. And took much of the Catholic church is considered culture is our culture, even in ’!