CHARLOTTETOWN — Provincial French celebrations will be taking place across the Island starting this Friday and will continue until March 24.
The national event, in its 22nd year, is called the Rendez-vous de la francophonie. It celebrates the French language and Acadian culture on P.E.I.
Dominique Chouinard is the policy and planning analyst for the Island’s Acadian and Francophone Affairs and said reaction to this event has always been really positive.
“It’s an opportunity to highlight and celebrate P.E.I.’s long-standing, rich and diverse Acadian and Francophone culture,” said Chouinard.
On the Island, 23 per cent of the population is of Acadian/French origin and, according to the 2011 census, almost 13 per cent self-identify as bilingual.
As well, 30 of 57 schools of the English Language School Board offer French immersion programs and 22 per cent of the total student population is enrolled in those programs.
Chouinard said activities will take place in schools and communities across the Island and the Acadian flag will be flown at Province House during that time.
“The community activities are always really popular. It’s a great way to get the young and the old together to celebrate.”
The theme for this year is “Joie de vivre,” which means a good mood, a sense of humour and fun times.
Chouinard said schools have poster contests on the theme and what it means to be bilingual.
“It’s thriving on the Island.”
Premier Robert Ghiz is the minister responsible for Acadian and Francophone Affairs.
In a press release, Ghiz said the provincial celebrations recognize the vitality and distinctiveness of the Acadian and Francophone community and its contributions to the quality of life in the province.
“I encourage everyone to take part in the provincial celebrations by participating in the school and community activities taking place Island wide. These activities are an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, our rich Acadian heritage, as well as the vitality of the French language in Prince Edward Island.”
The Carrefour de la Francophonie will be taking place at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on March 11 and there will also be family outdoor events, movie presentations and more throughout the celebrations.