The culture of Prince Edward Island has a long history. The Mi’kmaq First Nations who lived there before it became a colony called it Epekwitk, which meant ‘resting on the waves.’ They were there for hundreds if not thousands of years before the Europeans colonists arrived. They make up a tiny portion of the population today.
Most of the culture of Prince Edward Island is derived from things that the people who immigrated there brought over with them, though it has its own unique flavor. The people of Prince Edward Island are quite proud of their culture, which is celebrated by several festivals.
Anne of Green Gables
One of the biggest, most internationally known pieces of Prince Edward Island culture is the series of books written at the turn of the century in the early 1900s known as Anne of Green Gables. These books were written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and are based on a real place on Prince Edward Island. Green Gables is a beautiful house that people can visit today.
The basics of the story: Anne is an orphan. She ends up getting adopted by the people who live in Green Gables, though they originally wanted a boy. She has many adventures, particularly with a character named Gilbert.
Much has been made of this series. Prince Edward Island citizens put on a play of the story every year simply called Anne of Green Gables. The sequel, Anne and Gilbert, is also put on. This is a big piece of Prince Edward Island culture, celebrated in festivals and included in tours.
There have also been artistic achievements on the island; for example, an artist colony was established there by Elmer Blaney Harris. This was near Fortune Bridge. Out of this setup came his famous play Johnny Belinda, which was also set on the island. Robert Harris is also a well known artist from Prince Edward Island.
Music is an important part of life on the island. First there is the Celtic-based music. With so many residents having Celtic ancestry, this is not a big surprise. Many great fiddle players have come from PEI. The fiddle is the most important instrument in the island’s traditional music, though many other Celtic instruments are also used.
The Celtic music was originally brought from the Scottish Highlands and Ireland, though it has taken on its own identity after arriving here. At this point, however, the Celtic music is more of a draw for tourists than for actual locals. The reason for this is that the young people haven’t been as interested in it, and for that reason, Celtic music is not as big a part of the culture of Prince Edward Island as it used to be.
However, there is a big effort to revive the love of Celtic music, from the fiddle camps to the introduction of Gaelic classes. This is a big part of Prince Edward Island’s historical culture, and they have been trying to save it in an age of the internet and more international trends. This is similar to what’s happening all over the world with globalization.
Two Olympic medalists in bobsledding come from Prince Edward Island: Heather Moyse, a two-time gold medalist, and David MacEachern, a gold medalist. Other professional athletes in ice hockey, golf, and baseball come from the island as well.
Altogether, Prince Edward Island has a lot to offer, and is the home to many people, stories, and other fantastic things. It’s not only a beautiful place, but also a lovely community.