The French-Canadian heritage in New England by Gerard J. Brault

By Gerard J. Brault

A complete old, sociological, and cultural advent to the sizeable Franco-American inhabitants in New England.

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However, a large number of French-Canadian homesteads were unlike any of these. 16 The siding was clapboard and the double-sloping roof, in which three or more dormer windows (lucarnes) were set, was generally covered with tar paper, asbestos shingles, or tin. A chimney usually protruded from each gable. )17 The raised porch facilitated access in the winter when snow accumulated on the ground, and the eaves offered protection from sun and rain the rest of the year. Narrow wooden pillars and a railing were sometimes added to sug- Page 11 gest the form of a veranda.

Many such collections were taken in Europe and Quebec (cf. la guignolĂ©e on Christmas or New Year's Day) but, it would appear, never in connection with Candlemas. The Acadian alms collectors (quĂȘteux), sometimes as many as thirty bachelors or young married men, would smudge on mustaches or beards, don outlandish costumes, and ride in horse-drawn sledges. At the head of the cortege would be the leader, dressed in fancy clothes and holding a baton surmounted by a replica of a rooster. After knocking at a door and inquiring politely if the occupants wished to recevoir la Chandeleur (invite Candlemas collectors in), the group would enter in single file, sing and dance for a few minutes, gather whatever items were offered in boxes, sacks, or other containers, and, after having a drink, perhaps, and singing a little ditty to thank their hosts, proceed to the next house.

5 I take pleasure in acknowledging the help I have received on this project over the years. I started to collect material, to teach, and to write about the Franco-Americans in the late 1950s, but due to other teaching and research commitments I worked on this book only in fits and starts until my sabbatical in 1980. Meanwhile I had received an American Philosophical Society grant in 1972 and continued support from the Pennsylvania State University's Faculty Research Fund and Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies.

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