A PRAIRIE DU ROCHER TRADITION–On New Year’s Eve, members of La Guiannee Society will be traveling around Prairie du Rocher for the traditional celebration, La Guiannee. This tradition dates back to 1722 and features traditional French songs that are only heard at this time. Pictured is a group of La Guiannee singers performing at the Creole House last year.
The New Year’s celebration started in 1722 by some of the state’s earliest settlers will again be held on Tuesday, Dec. 31 in Prairie du Rocher.
La Guiannee, the traditional French New Year’s celebration, dates back to the early 1700s, when the La Guiannee singers would visit houses in the early French town of Prairie du Rocher and sing for the residents. As part of the tradition, the residents provide refreshments for the singers at each stop.
This year the tradition begins at 5 p.m. as the La Guiannee singers will be singing during mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
The group sings traditional French songs, as well as the La Guiannee song which can only be heard at this time. They try to sing the song as closely as possible to the original in French.
Following mass, the group will head over to the Creole House for a performance around 6-6:15 p.m. Next is the Prairie du Rocher American Legion around 6:30-6:45 p.m.
This will be the start of their roving tour of the Prairie du Rocher area.
According to Jeremy Volkmar, a member of the La Guiannee Society, the group will then make a few private stops before heading out to Fort de Chartres.
For more on La Guiannee, please see this week’s print edition.