French community celebrates Tintamarre

Students march down Central Ave. as part of the 2019 Tintamarre celebrations on March 20 in Prince Albert. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Hundreds of local students honked horns, blew whistles and yelled with joy Tuesday as they participated in the annual Tintamarre celebration.

Tintamarre is an old Acadian tradition where they would go out into the streets and make noise, to let people know that they are alive and well and not about to disappear.

“They’ve been doing it for about 80 years in the Maritimes,” said Michel Dubé of the Societé Canadienne Française de Prince-Albert (SCFPA).

This was the second year the event has been held in Prince Albert. Celebrations also took place elsewhere in the province, including in Moose Jaw, where the third annual Tintamarre was held.

“It’s an occasion for people from Prince Albert who are either francophone or who are studying in immersion programs to come out and celebrate the fact that they are learning the other official language in Canada, that the culture is alive and well,” Dubé said.

Michel Dubé speaks at the 2019 Tintamarre celebration at Memorial Square on March 29, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

“It’s an occasion for them to say that French isn’t just a subject matter. It’s something we can use in our day-to-day- lives and have fun with.”

The Tintamarre celebration is part of the SCPA’s celebrations this month. March is the national francophone month in Canada.

While last year’s event saw about 250 people come out to celebrate, organizers estimated this year’s crowd at between 550-650. The increase was thanks to more schools getting involved, as well As more adults. The schools that returned also contributed to the increased number of celebrants, bringing along more students than in 2018.

Some even came from outside of Prince Albert. The school from Bellevue, Sask. also sent a contingent of students.

“It was a good turnout, it was a beautiful day … to do it,” Dubé said.

“The mayor was there to greet us and he thanked everyone for getting together and celebrating our culture. It was a pretty good event, a chance to get out and make noise and le the rest of the community know that we’re here, we’re happy to be here, we’re part of the city and hope to be part of the city for a long time.”

Students gather at City Hall for the 2019 Tintamarre celebration on March 19, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)