For well over 100 years, Acadians from all over the world have been holding reunions originally called “Convention nationales acadiennes” and what has come to be known as… “Congrès Mondial Acadien”.
The first such meeting was held at Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881, when an estimated five thousand (5,000) Acadians gathered to form ‘La Societé Nationale l’Assumption’.
Subsequent ‘Convention nationales acadiennes’ were held at Miscouche, Prince Edward Island in 1884; Church Point, Nova Scotia in 1890; Arichat, Nova Scotia in 1900, in addition to several others throughout the years.
The most recent world ‘Congrès’ was held throughout the Province of New Brunswick in 1994 and was attended by an estimated one hundred thousand (100,000) Acadians! The next ‘Congrès Mondial Acadien’ is scheduled for Louisiana in 1999. And of course, the most significant ‘Congrès’ will be held in the year 2004, when all Acadians will celebrate the four hundred (400th) anniversary of the first landing of the Acadians, in Canada.
It was at the ‘Convention nationales acadiennes’ held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island in August 1884 that the Acadian National Flag was adopted. The tri-colour flag of France (blue, white and red) was chosen as the base flag. A yellow/gold star was placed in the upper part of the blue field, to give it the Acadian distinction. The yellow/gold star, our Lady of Assomption, represents the “Stella Maris” (Star of the Sea), seeks the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and indicates hope and the guiding light of the future. This is the emblem that represents our Acadian heritage, ancestors and the original lands of Acadia, established in Canada in the mid 1600’s. The red section serves to remind us of the suffering and hardships of the past; the white section denotes purity of spirit and the peace of the present; and the blue section represents harmony with the sea and the sky. In an article which appeared in the August 28, 1884 issue of ‘Le Moniteur Acadien’, Father Richard explained that the choice of tri-colour was merely a symbol representing Acadian descendants…”pour nous, Acadiens, ce drapeau nous dit simplement que nous sommes français et que la France est notre mère-patrie.”