At Mi-Carême, if you are a runner, you'll be looking for the perfect disguise: not necessarily a beautiful or a scary costume! What you want is for no one to recognize you, so that you can challenge them to a friendly guessing game.
The more difficult it is for them to recognize you, the more the fun you have! Carefully select your complete disguise, change your demeanour, your stature, the way you talk and walk...There's a whole art to it, and our two experts will share their secrets with you!
Bonus: pick up some Acadian French while you're watching!
How to dress for Mi-Carême
When is "Mi-Carême"?
Mi-Carême (Mid-Lent) is a excitedly-awaited yearly winter event, and although its initial religious reference has been cast aside over the years, the fun remains very much alive! It always falls on the third Thursday of Lent, marking the mid-point of Carême (Lent). However, it never falls on the same date from one year to the next!
Why? Traditionally, the 40 days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (the day after "Fat Tuesday", AKA "Mardi-Gras"), and end the day before Easter (Holy Saturday). Therefore, you need to know both those dates to determine Mi-Carême (Mid-Lent), and both of these determining dates fluctuate from one year to the next.
Did You know? Because Mi-Carême is such a beloved event in Cape-Breton's Acadie, the celebrations have now been extended to an entire week! You'll find of these festive dates included below, until 2030!
Your Mi-Carême Math Puzzle:
1) Determine the date of Easter: it's on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the spring equinox.
2) Then calculate Ash Wednesday: it always starts exactly 46 days before Easter (40 days of Lent, plus six days, because each Sunday is skipped because these are days of rest): You have your Mardi-Gras date!
3) Count 20 days (remember to skip 3 Sundays) from Ash Wednesday, and you'll have your Mi-Carême Thursday!
What is "Mi-Carême"?
The traditional celebration of Mi-Carême emerged away back in Medieval Europe, serving as a day of respite from the rigorous fasting demands of the Catholic Lenten period! Historians believe that the tradition then travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to Nova Scotia in the 17th Century, with the first French settlers, ancestors of today's Acadians!
The celebration has evolved since then, but its essence has remained: it's a fun carnavalesque celebration, where its runners disguise themselves (originally with whatever they could get their hands on) and playfully challenge others (the "watchers") to guess who they are. Mi-Carême also has very liberating aura about it, inviting you to let go of daily routines, and spread smiles around you!
Originally, the runners would visit various homes in the community, who'd welcome them in and offer them tasty treats. Today, runners typically meet the participating watchers in a pre-defined location: the Mi-Carême Interpretative Centre! Fun, lively fiddle music and delicious traditional sweet and savoury treats are other delightful aspects of this heartwarming and whimsical celebration, brimming with Acadian "Joie de Vivre"!