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Fête des Rois: Fiddleworks brings back old tradition this weekend

You could be crowned king or queen at Sunday square dance
Quebec-based professional dance caller Jean-Francois Berthiaume will be on hand for the Fête des Rois and square dance celebration in Chelmsford on Sunday afternoon. Supplied photo.

In French-Canadian culture, there's a traditional January celebration called Fête des Rois (or Feast of the Kings), marking the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

You might be more familiar with the Christian feast day Epiphany, which celebrates the same event.

Two participants in Fête des Rois are crowned king and queen for the evening, and the other participants have to bow down to them.

Fête des Rois isn't commonly celebrated anymore, but it's being brought back this weekend in Chelmsford thanks to Fiddleworks and the Centre franco-ontrien de folklore.

You're invited to check out the Fête des Rois and square dance at Club 50 starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.

“It's essentially a nice way to kick off the New Year,” said organizer Paul Lemelin. 

“It's just one last hurrah. Everybody gets together for one more last good time and well wishing for the year … It's a tradition that still lives on in certain French communities.”

There'll be live fiddle music — Lemelin's an award-winning fiddler, and will be one of the performers — and Quebec-based professional dance caller Jean-Francois Berthiaume will be there for the occasion.

He said he especially likes to invite families to participate.

For fans of square dance, there's also a couple of Fiddleworks events at Club 50 on Saturday  you'll be interested in. There's a square dance workshop starting at 4 p.m. and a square dance starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets to the Fête des Rois event are $12 per person. Kids under age 12 get in for free. 

The Saturday square dance workshop costs $10 and the Saturday square dance is $15, or $20 for both events. Kids also get into these events free.

Learn more about this weekend's events on Fiddleworks' Facebook page.

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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