Acadian Tradition: Ave Maris Stella

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About This Song

Ave Maris Stella is a plainsong hymn to the Virgin Mary. Its origin is uncertain, but it can be dated back to at least the eighth century. Popular in the Middle Ages, it has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions.

The hymn has been adopted as the anthem of the Acadian people, who were highly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church and had (and still have) a high degree of devotion to the Virgin Mary. It was adopted as the anthem during the Second Acadian National Convention, held in Prince Edward Island in 1884.

The hymn was sung in its original Latin version until French lyrics were finally composed in 1994. Out of respect for the original hymn, the first verse in the song remains in Latin.

This performance is a part of a field recording of Le Festival Acadien, held in Petit-de-Grat from July 30 to August 3, 1980. It was collected for the Beaton Institute by Paula Webber, Alan Cash, Ken Simpson, and Heather MacDonald.

This annual event commemorates the arrival of the first ancestors of the Acadian people at Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The 1980 festival held special meaning as it was the 375th anniversary of the founding of Port Royal by Samuel de Champlain, thus marking the long existence of the Acadian culture in Nova Scotia.

Le Festival Acadien is an expression of a people's pride in their heritage and culture and celebrates the past accomplishments of the hard working Acadian people. Through their music they relate the history of Acadie, and remember its heroic figures such as Evangeline and Gabriel.

Ave Stella Maris, 1980. T-921. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Lyrics

Ave, maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
Atque semper virgo,
Felix coeli porta.
Felix coeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave,
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Hevae nomen.
Mutans Hevae nomen.

Additional Acadian Verses:

Acadie ma patrie,
À ton nom je me lie.
Ma vie, ma foi sont à toi;
Tu me protégeras,
Tu me protégeras.

Acadie ma patrie,
Ma terre et mon défi,
De près, de loin tu me tiens.
Mon coeur est acadien,
Mon coeur est acadien.

Acadie ma patrie,
Ton histoire je la vise.
La fierté je te la dois;
En l'Avenir je crois,
En l'Avenir je crois.

Translation of Acadian Verses:

Acadia my homeland,
To your name I draw myself.
My life, my faith belong to you;
You will protect me,
You will protect me.

Acadia my homeland,
My land and my challenge,
From near, from far you hold onto me.
My heart is Acadian,
My heart is Acadian.

Acadia my homeland,
I live your history.
I owe you my pride;
I believe in your future,
I believe in your future.

Additional Latin Verses:

Solve vincla reis
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle
Bona cuncta posce.
Bona cuncta posce.

Monstra le esse matrem
Sumat per te preces
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis
Inter omnes mitis
Nos culpis solutos
Mites fac et castos.
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram
Iter para tutum
Ut videntes Jesum
Semper collaetemur.
Semper collaetemur.

Sit taus Deo Patri
Summo Christo decus
Spiritui Sancto
Tribus honor unus.
Tribus honor unus.
Amen