Monthly Archives April 2021

FRENCH COMMUNITY DAY – September 27, 2021

History of the French Community Day

The feast of the French Community was celebrated for the first time in 1975. This day commemorates an important event of the Belgian Revolution during which the royal army failed to take back Brussels from the Walloon revolutionaries.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Belgians were unhappy under the rule of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. On August 25, 1830, a riot broke out after, among other things, the performance of Daniel Auber’s patriotic opera “La muette de Portici”. This led to an uprising in which crowds rushed to the streets and took control of government buildings while shouting patriotic slogans.

At the time, the Estates General convinced Crown Prince William, who represented the monarchy in Brussels, that the administrative separation of north and south was the only solution to alleviate the crisis. However, the father of the crown prince, King William I, rejected the proposed accommodation conditions. Later, the royal army was unable to retake Brussels and a provisional government was declared in Brussels after which the Dutch troops withdrew.

When we talk about the French Community of Belgium, we are referring to the French-speaking population who reside in the Walloon Region. They constitute around 41% of the country’s population and around 80% of French-speaking Belgians reside in Wallonia. In fact, this community, also known as the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, has its own parliament, government, administration and flag.

In June 1975, the French Community chose the date of September 27 as the French Community Day. On the day of the French Community, all schools are closed, however, some businesses remain open. People celebrate the holiday with concerts, theatrical performances and sporting events.

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The legacy of Prince Philip’s frog jump in a francophone community in Manitoba

Philip married then Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He was the longest-serving royal consort in British history and, in his role, made many trips to Canada.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said on Friday that Philip was in direct contact with thousands of Manitobans from his first visit in 1951 to his last in 2010.

Gagné was a child when the royal couple came to the province for Manitoba’s centennial in 1970.

He said the community was chosen to host the royal family because they wanted to experience the “true color of a French-Canadian village”. At the time, more than 80% of the population of St-Pierre-Jolys was French-speaking.

A party was planned for the visit and the whole village was decorated.

“I couldn’t believe they were building this stage in the middle of town in front of our Catholic cathedral,” Gagné said.

But the village wanted to make an even bigger impression on the queen and her husband.

“We are surrounded here by Mennonites, Ukrainians, Germans, Hutterites, etc. One of our nicknames is the frog, of course,” said Gagné.

“We said, ‘Let’s take this and start the Frog Follies. “”

The mayor challenged other local politicians, mayors and prefects to present their best frog. And, thus, began the frog jumping competition.

People searched ponds for Northern Leopard Frogs, Manitoba’s largest frog, typically five to 11 centimeters long.

Two Court of Queen’s Bench judges and a doctor were among the judges who crowned George the winning frog, having jumped just over 2.1 meters, and marked the start of the annual Frog Follies.

The festival grew over the following decades to become one of Manitoba’s premier summer adventures. The weekend event draws over 1,000 people every day to the village of just under 1,200 people.

However, it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gagné said that while the royal couple’s visit was short and he didn’t think he saw any frogs, it had an impact that spanned more than five decades.

He said Philip, in particular, was happy to find pockets of French Canadians in a largely English-speaking province.

Gagné said he was thinking of Prince Philip’s family at the moment.

“He lived a busy life.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 10, 2021.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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