CAJUN (‘ka:-j@n), n. A person of French Canadian descent born or living along southern Louisiana. The word Cajun began in 19th century Acadie when the Acadians began to arrive. The French of noble ancestry would say, “les Acadiens”, while some referred to the Acadiansas “le ‘Cadiens”, dropping the “A”. Later came the Americans who could not pronounce “Acadien” or “‘Cadien”, so the word “Cajun” was born.
The word “Cajun” is a derivative of the original French pronunciation of Acadian: “A-ca-jan.”
The Cajun culture knows how to celebrate a good time, which involves an energetic spirit motivated by Zydeco music, good friends, and family, and of course, a large quantity of Cajun cooking that is passed down the generations.
Experiencing Cajun culture is like no other. Cajuns are known for their “joie de vivre” (joy of living) the music and food are both rich in tradition and flavor.One of the best ways to experience Cajun food is at a festival. Any time is festival time in Cajun Country. Nearly all festivals feature live music, contests, native crafts, food and, of course, dancing. Each season in Louisiana is celebrated with festivals all year.
Cajun music, an emblematic sound of Louisiana, is embedded in the ballads of the French-speaking. Cajun music is frequently mentioned in tandem with the Cajun-influenced zydeco sound. Traditional Cajun style comprises the roots of Cajun dance music, involving only a few instruments such as the Cajun accordion, fiddle, and triangle.
Cajun cuisine (in French: Cuisine Acadienne) An authentic Cajun meal is usually a three-pot event, with one pot devoted to the main dish, one dedicated to rice, cornbread, or another grain dish, and the third containing a vegetable. The food is regularly spicy and typically makes use of regionally abundant provisions such as seafood, wild game, and rice.
Cajun Language, is a dialect of French and English, and is often called Cajun French. It is generally French, but when a French word is not known, the English word is thrown in.
Religion, Cajuns are predominantly Roman Catholic. Traditional Catholic religious observances such as Mardi Gras, Lent, and Holy Week are integral to many Cajun communities.
Cajun Folk Beliefs, One folk custom is belief in a traiteur, or Cajun healer, whose primary method of treatment involves the laying on of hands and of prayers. An important part of Cajun folk religion, the traiteur is a faith healer who combines Catholic prayer and medicinal remedies to treat a variety of ailments, including earaches, toothaches, warts, tumors, angina, and bleeding. Another is in the Rougarou, a version of a Loup Garou (French for werewolf), that will hunt down and kill Catholics that do not follow the rules of Lent. In some Cajun, communities the Loup Garou of legend have taken on an almost protective role.
The Cajun-Acadian Flag
Since 1965, the official Louisiana Acadian flag has been flown throughout Acadiana – the 22-parish area of south Louisiana populated by the “Cajun” people. The 3 silver fleur de lis on a blue field symbolizes the French origin; the gold tower on the red field symbolizes Spain, which ruled Louisiana at the time of the Arcadian migration; and the gold star on the white field represents [the] Virgin Mary, under the title of “Our Lady of the Assumption,” Patroness of the Acadians. The star also represents the participation of the Acadians in the American Revolution, as soldiers under Galvez.”