By: Shelby M., Tosin A., Kendra R.
The Million Dollar Question: What is the difference between Cajun and Creole?
Family, Traditions, & Customs
Men are the head of the household.
Women stay at home and take care of their families.
It was common for Creole people to take widowed family members and orphans of kinship in their homes
Tantes or unmarried women relatives lived in many households. They helped with running the household and caring for children.
In older days Creoles married in their class.
The suitor would ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage.
All meetings of engaged Creole people were chaperoned.
Weddings, usually held at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
Baptisms usually took place when the child was one month old. The Godfather and the Godmother were always relatives.
The Godmother gave the infant a gift of a gold cross and chain, and the God father offered either a silver cup or a silver knife and fork.
- Roman Catholics
When Creole people died the family of the deceased would put on a grand deuil or full mourning.
A grand deuil took about six months and during those months it was improper for families members to jewelry or colorful clothing.
- Cemeteries held an important place to Creoles, A family tomb received almost as much attention as a church. To not visit the family tomb on All Saints' Day was unforgivable.
- Most Creoles speak French.
Enjoy Music and dancing and very festive.
Creoles went to cotillions. That is where young men and women would dance together.
- It was common for Creole people to hold Saturday night balls.
- Enjoyed various types of music from jazz to opera.
The first true Creole dress was worn by women on Sundays and feast days.
A floor length skirt (jupe) of a bright color over a white cotton chemise (slip), trimmed at the neck, sleeves and hemmed with lace was worn.
A white handkerchief was wrapped around the head or sometimes shaped into a bonnet
A white cotton triangle (foulard) was draped over the bosom.
The madras (thin cloth) replaced the white handkerchief and were used for their foulards and even for their jupes (skirt).
Ribbons were threaded through the lace on sleeves and neck of chemise.
Simple but elegant wardrobe were worn.
- This included black trousers, white long-sleeved shirt, a bow tie and a sash, colored satin or madras, and black shoes and socks.
- In the 17th century, French explorers and settlers moved into the US.
Their dominant presence continued until 1768 when France ceded Louisiana to Spain, but despite Spanish control, French language and customs continued to prevail.
Creoles are descendants of these French colonials who fled Haiti to the Gulf Coast when a slave revolt in 1791 that challenged French authority.
More than 450,000 black slaves, 40,000 to 45,000 whites, and 32,000 gens-decouleur libres, who were neither white nor slaves lived in Haiti
By 1815, over 11,000 refugees had settled in New Orleans.
Where the Name Came From
In Louisiana, the term Creole came to represent children of black or racially mixed parents as well as children of French and Spanish descent with no racial mixing.
- Persons of French and Spanish descent in New Orleans began referring to themselves as Creoles after the Louisiana Purchase to set themselves apart from the Anglo-Americans who moved into the area.
- Cooking is a distinguishing feature in creole life.
- It originated in Louisiana.
- Their dishes include a variety of shellfish, spices, vegetables, and legumes (beans).
- Creole food is a unique blend of French, Spanish, African, Amerindian, German, Italian, and Irish cuisine.
- Gumbo- A stew like soup.
- Jambalaya- A dish that contains rice, meat, seasoning, and vegetables.
- Shrimp Creole- A dish with a mix of shrimp, onions, and various vegetables.