shield of the Bolduc House Museum: New France
Back of the Bolduc House showing the gardens
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New France - The OTHER Colonial America
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La Guignole 2011

Okayyyy....this is dated...How embarrassing... -Zuts

A French colonial New Year’s tradition that persists today
You’re invited!

The first 40 individuals to sign up are invited to experience a living French colonial tradition at the Louis Bolduc House on Saturday, December 31, 2011, beginning at 7PM. Gather in the salon for French colonial parlor games, a little modern trivia, punch, hors d’ouevres and perhaps some music while we wait for La Guignole – a group of men dressed in ridiculous costumes coming to sing and dance around the fiddler. with the names of your party if you would like a reservation for this event. We’re suggesting a minimum donation of $10/person to off-set our costs. (Any surplus will be used to support the Bolduc House Museum.)

Ste. Genevieve was settled by French colonial Americans sometime after 1735. They built sturdy vertical log homes with cedar shake roofs and porches surrounding them for when the sweltering summer heat made it too stifling to be indoors. They brought their traditions and beliefs.

Even today some of the traditional celebrations endure. One is the annual New Year’s Eve celebration of La Guignole (there are an incredible number of variations on the spelling of this tradition and song) when a group of men go door to door demanding a very large leg of mutton. Failing that, they request the head of the house to send out the eldest eligible daughter to dance. At least, that is what the song means. Even today the tradition persists. Instead of going door to door, now the group starts by going to the nursing homes. Then they go from bar to bar singing, dancing and stomping in a raucous circle around the fiddler.

2010 was the first time since 1967 that La Guignole was celebrated at the Louis Bolduc House. The pictures show our guests playing French colonial parlor games while waiting for the men to arrive. First the Naegers came with their accordion to wish us Bonne Annee. Then the men arrived. More than 20 tromped up the gallerie steps and in the front door. All of us pressed close to the walls so that there was enough room for the dancing.