This term has been used by Acadians for centuries and was/is translated as a “racket”, or “noisy gathering”. Early social events marked by music, dancing and merry celebrations were called such. The word was also used to describe the noisy arrival and departure of thousands of Canada geese that would land on the Chignecto marshes near the present day New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border during their north/south migrations. The word was later anglicized, pronounced and spelled “Tantramar”. Today the area is known by many as the Tantramar Flats, or Marshes.
Growing up in our small isolated villages, it was customary to have periodic kitchen parties marking someone’s birthday, accomplishments, etc., or to simply celebrate for the love of it. It was also a carry-over from “l’Ordre de Bon Temps”, (the Order of Good Cheer) that had been established by Champlain’s colonists in 1605, as a way to survive long harsh winters. In earlier times, local musicians would exhibit their talents using spoons, harmonica, fiddle and guitar. Later, simple record players would provide the musical notes required to get feet tapping while everyone sang along with the recording artists. Noise levels would have been a measuring challenge causing participants and hosts to declare, “tcheu maugit tintamarre”! “What a darn racket”!
Modern day Acadians still use the word to denote a noisy celebration, but it is now often done to bring attention to a cultural, or significant political statement or event. Noisy revellers attempt to remind the general public that Acadians still exist and remain proud of their heritage and culture. Even attempts at Deportation, separation and assimilation were unsuccessful in silencing this hearty and determined group. Each year, Acadians of the Tor Bay region go public with our own Tintamarre during Festival Savalette. At this time we parade around the river with flags, noise makers and costumes to let everyone know we are still here and proud of our heritage. We always invite and encourage others to join us in this cultural manifestation to promote cultural diversity as a healthy and rich blessing for communities, province and country.