The idea of large Acadian gatherings with a distinctive family flavor is not new. Indeed, at the end
of the 19th century and during the first part of the twentieth, the Acadian elite of the period organized what where then called National Conventions. At the Saint Jean-Baptiste celebrations
of 1880 in Québec, Acadians as well as other francophone delegates from all over North America, were invited
to participate. The Acadian leaders who attended this convention were motivated to organize the first
Acadian National Convention the following year, 1881, at Memramcook in southeastern New Brunswick. Here Acadians chose their National Feast Day of August 15th.
Three years later, in 1884, during the second convention at Miscouche on Prince Edward Island, the Acadian flag was adopted. based on the flag of France with its blue, white and red colors, a golden star was inserted in the blue section of the flag since blue is the traditional color representing the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron Saint of the Acadians. The gold color in the star symbolizes the unwavering adherence of the Acadians to the Roman Catholic Church, as gold is the traditional color of the papacy. At this same convention the Acadian national anthem, the hymn Ave Maris Stella, was chosen as another symbol of Acadian identity.
More local in nature than the Congrès of today, these national conventions nevertheless regrouped Acadians
around common themes and set the Acadians on a course of defining their ethnic identity, preparing the way for a series of Acadian World Congress gatherings spanning the end of the twentieth century into the twenty first.
Trois Congrès mondial acadien/Three World Gatherings:
CMA 1994 – New Brunswick
The scope of the enterprise explains why the first world-scale gathering of Acadians only materialized six years
later in southeastern New Brunswick, in 1994. In all, 9 local municipalities were involved, 60 employees were hired, 80 conferences and 81 family reunions were held, 150 cultural and artistic events took place, and all
within the time frame of two weeks! It is estimated that some 3 million dollars was invested into the region by this organization.
CMA 1999 – Louisiana
Five years hence it was Louisiana's turn to open its Cajun doors to the world. Integrated with the Franco Fete celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of French presence within the State, the second Congrès hosted 61 family reunions, and saw the twinning of many Louisiana villages with their Nova Scotia or New Brunswick counterparts and kept visitors entertained with a wide range of cultural and musical venues all across the state.
CMA 2004 - Nova Scotia
Five more years later, it was a return to the land of our birth! Never before had so many Acadian descendants returned to what was once the mother land knowns as Acadie.
Acadie received her children with arms wide open as 250,000 Acadian descendants converged to this wonderful land of our Ancestors. Much will be written about the history that was made at that time and in that place. There were many historical moments!