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> Issue 51 > Page 40 - "It is Wrong, Wrong to Dance"?? An Introduction to Cheticamp-Area Dance Prohibition with Folklorist Barbara LeBlanc

Page 40 - "It is Wrong, Wrong to Dance"?? An Introduction to Cheticamp-Area Dance Prohibition with Folklorist Barbara LeBlanc

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1 (238 reads)

thesis is on that. And in effect, it is true that the church did prohibit dance. was going on here, and something definite? ly had to be done about dancing. The church--say, Rome--and then, because of the hierarchy that existed, the dio? cese. Because it's kind of important to understand the hierarchy. There would have been the papal authority. And then there would have been the archdiocese and the diocese and then the parishes. An Example of an Edict against Dance Circular sent out from Antigonish diocese, 1894: So what would happen is you'd have what they called "edicts." And they would send out--usually from the diocese--edicts con? cerning different types of behaviour. And one of the types of behaviour that they would often speak about at a certain time--I mean, you wouldn't find that today in the 1980s in the Catholic church, people telling you about dance and how you should behave. But you definitely could find it, even up un? til the 1960s in some areas. What would happen is that they would send out this edict. I have a letter from the bishop-- Plessis--who came to visit the parishes here (in 1812) . Because, see, all of these parishes were under the Quebec diocese. And (Bishop Plessis) made a visit. And he wrote a letter (back to the parish in Cheticamp) saying how, you know, it was atrocious, kind of thing, the dancing that 27 Feb. 1894 - Circular letter on Round Dances -... "Therefore, as a rule, subject to more or less numerous exceptions, they who take part in such dances are guilty of grievous scandal.... There are var? ious circumstances closely connected with bails, that are of fre? quent occurence and most minous to purity, especially the improp? er intimacies between young people on the way to and from the places where the dances are held...." Those who persist in having such balls and dances in their homes... "are in a state of deadly sin."... "They cannot worthily re? ceive the Sacraments of the Church until they sincerely repent...." So that would come from the diocese. And then what would happen (at) the parish level depended on the priest. Well, the way the priest would react to that (letter or edict) would vary. So you might have one parish that was more lenient than an? other parish. You know? And when you talk to the infor? mants about that, they'll say, "Oh, but that parish"-- Cheticamp, for exam? ple- -"P're LeBlanc, he was really a tough priest about that." So it would depend from parish to parish how lenient or not they would take that edict that had been sent from the diocese. And then, at the bottom of the pyramid you've got the people. And then there'd be three reactions, depending on the priest's reaction to the edict from the diocese. Some of them, of course, would really take that and not dance, because they would go to Hell, they weren't allowed to get com? munion. In some parishes--I'm not saying Cheticamp--in some parishes excommunica? tion was spoken about. Definitely you wouldn't get the ashes. So, those types of things. So the people wouldn't dance at all because they'd be terribly frightened by EDUCATION ACT, PASSED IN THE SESSION OF 1864. COMMENTS THEREON, REGULATIONS FOR THE GUIDANCE OF ITS OFFICERS AND THE PEOPLE GENERALLY: TOGETHER WITH EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING SUPERIOR SCHOOLS AND ACADEMIES. Prepared by the Superintendent of Education, and sanctioned by the Council of Public Instruction. HALIFAX, N.S. July, 1864. FREE SCHOOLS IN NOVA SCOTIA 1864 -1989 This year is an important landmark in pubUc education in Nova Scotia, marking as it does the 125th anniversary of the Free School Act of 1864 which established a system of free education for all children in this province. The beginnings of education in Nova Scotia were made by the French settlers at LaHave and Port Royal before the middle of the 17th century. English pioneer efforts in education began at Annapolis Royal before 1730 and spread to other parts of the province, particularly after the founding of Halifax. There have been many significant changes in our educational system and processes during the last century and a quarter. Yet, one thing has remained unchanged. That has been the commitment, down through the years, to .provide our students with the education necessary to help them reach their fullest potential and attain their future career aspirations. The Department of Education continues to be dedicated to that same objective, thereby keeping alive in our world of today the ideal of those who established free education in Nova Scotia 125 years ago. Department of Education Honourable Ronald C. GIffIn, Q.C. Minister
Cape Breton's Magazine
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