An Introduction to French and Creole Culture

The French and Creole culture consists of a varied mix of influences spanning many countries across all continents all over the world. It is one of the most diverse and most vibrant cultures to have developed from the pre-20th century colonization efforts of France. However, because of the relatively big distance between French and Creole countries, there is now no direct integration and sharing of cultural experiences that can be used to further grow the Creole influence. Instead, the world is seeing a rapid Westernization of most Creole countries largely because of tourism as its main source of income particularly in the Caribbean.

This website is dedicated to providing a platform for French and Creole cultures to get to know the many facets of being Creole and from this hopefully develop a deeper desire to preserve, protect and grow the Creole influence, continuing to establish its identity and passing down Creole-specific traditions to future generations to make the appreciate the distinctive and effervescent qualities that make the Creole culture one of the most colorful in the world.

In the succeeding paragraphs, we examine the current Creole countries in the world to paint a picture of the diversity and extent of that which is uniquely Creole.

The United States

Louisiana has a predominantly French Creole culture because of the old influence from the French colonization in the 1800s. Before the United States bought Louisiana from France, it used to be called French Louisiana and to this day retains many of the old traditions that were predominant in the olden times. In this context, it is important to remember that the designation “French Creole” only refers to those that are of European ancestry and excludes the more modern definition of Louisiana Creole which also includes those that are of African descent. From a historical point of view, the word Creole was derived from the Spanish word “criollos” which loosely translates to “mixed.” Today, mere mention of the word French Creole in the United States is automatically construed to mean New Orleans and the general Louisiana area.
The Caribbean

Most of the Caribbean has retained some of the most distinguishing traits of French Creole culture and it is still predominantly observed in many country islands in the region. In the Caribbean, the term “Creolean” is unequivocally used to refer to French-speaking people that are of “white” ancestry and are born in the Caribbean. However, the term “Creole” also contains loose meanings which can refer to mixed races of black and white or even African and East Indian ancestries. In this case, the Caribbean is rife with territories that are strongly Creole or Creolean including but not limited to the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, portions of Jamaica, The Antilles, and Haiti. In the case of the last three islands, comparisons between Louisiana Creole are very common.

The Indian Ocean

This class of Creole in the Indian Ocean includes inhabitants of islands include Seychelles, Reunion, and Mauritius. The French had a major influence in developing this region of the world largely due to its massive naval presence in the area in the height of their competition for global supremacy against the British.

In the succeeding pages, we will try to give a more concise picture for the common history and significance of the Creole culture as it relates to the development of local, specific and vibrant communities in the area where the Creole culture is dominant. Without a doubt, the depth and complexity of Creolean influences continue to make it a celebrated culture that has inspired many scholars, poets and artists to create masterpieces that are tributes to the Creolean way of living. Beyond this, the modern contribution of French Creole to the world in areas such as cuisine or music is also celebrated. Best of all, the fact that the Caribbean is a world-class tourist destination behooves non-Creole cultures to learn a little bit of the vagaries of the French Creole tradition because they are bound to encounter it during their travels.

By talking about these wealth of history, information, tradition, artistic significance and cultural complexities, we hope to motivate everyone to share and appreciate what it truly means to be Creole. Truly, it is a culture that is worth celebrating in every sense of the world, and there is every impetus to keep it alive in the hearts of young Creolean generations so they can retain their cultural identities and even make it known to the world via their future contributions to the arts, science, and socio-cultural influences.

As such, we enjoin everyone to look through the pages of this website and learn, appreciate and share what it truly means to be Creole.