Page 40 - 1895: With Sarah Denny
ISSUE : Issue 40
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1
1895 Writing in 1895, one visitor to Chapel Island de? scribed the procession; Early in the afternoon the tribe begins to gather for the principal event of the day, in fact, the most notable feature of the whole festival, the procession of St. Ann. The gay- ly bedecked shrine, containing the image, so rever? enced by the pious Micmacs that the toes of the statue have been well-nigh worn away by frequent kissing, is borne by four solemn-faced maidens ar? rayed in white. Following these is a like number of young men, selected because of their good voices, and w:ho are depended on to take the lead in the musical part of the exercises, consisting principally of the responses, the intoning of psalms, and a few of the Church's chants. Having passed out of the sacred edifice and once a- round it, the procession proceeds to an elevation some 100 feet distant. During its progress, the line is flanked on either side by the elder braves, who keep up an incessant firing. As the shrine passes between each pair of men, bang! bang! go - their rifles, while those whom it has already passed have hastily reloaded and taken their places farther forward, awaiting their turn to dis? charge another volley. Thus the shrine is between two fires all the way. The fusillade that is kept up, with its accompanying cloud of smoke, floating languidly across the peaceful waters of the Bras d'Or, would lead a distant observer to imagine a genuine fight in progress. To add to the din a small cannon has also been booming away at inter? vals from another part of the island. The firing of rifles is no longer part of the ceremony. I During the Mission, small boats go back and forth all day between the mainland and Chapel Island. In procession, men carry St. Ann along the "road up." :40)
Cape Breton's Magazine