La Guignolée on New Year’s Eve
La Guignolée is a tradition on New Years Eve in the Illinois Country, formerly called Upper LA. Most certainly, it was practiced when Jean Baptiste Lapaise de Védrines and Elisabeth de Moncharvaux were living there. Our Courir de Mardi Gras in Lower LA has similar roots. This is the translation:
Good evening master and mistress,
And all who live with you.
For the first day of the year,
You owe us La Guignolée.
If you have nothing to give,
A chine of meat or so will do.
A chine of meat is not a big thing,
Only ninety feet long.
Again, we don’t ask for very much,
Only the oldest daughter of the house.
We will give her lots of good cheer,
And we will surely warm her feet.
Now, we greet you,
And beg you to forgive us please.
If we have acted a little crazy,
We meant it in good fun.
Another time we’ll surely be careful
To know when we must come back here again.
Let us dance La Guenille,
— La Guenille, La Guenille!