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Fermières Play, Explore, Celebrate

At a Christmas dinner, Alice discovers that the Fermières love a celebration. While many of them enjoy an evening at home with their embroidery, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to get out, or have a good party. From the 1920s to the 1960s, St. Catherine’s Day was a particularly special time for getting together for an evening of dancing. It is celebrated on November 25 and commemorates the martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of single women. Fermières would bring their friends and families to the event. According to Fermière Claire Prud’homme, these get-togethers were an opportunity for young women to meet prospective suitors. For many years Valentine’s Day was also an excuse to organize a festive evening. Today, the Fermières have their celebrations during the winter holidays and just before the summer break.

St. Catherine’s Day in 1950 (subtitles available in EN and FR). Watch the video with the transcript (EN)

Built to stay out late (subtitles available in EN and FR). Watch the video with the transcript (EN)

Four women are standing together outside at the bottom of a staircase in front of a white building with yellow shutters on the windows. In front of them is a carpet of dead leaves.

Four Fermières during a 1994 outing to Le P’tit bonheur in Lac-Supérieur in the Laurentides region

Beginning in the late 1950s, the Fermières have organized outings, not only for study days and conferences, but also just for the pleasure of discovering somewhere new. In 1958, for example, a number of members went to Burlington and Lake Champlain. In the 1970s, the president, Jacqueline Legault, was a travel agent and organized a variety of activities for the Cercle, including a trip to L’Isle-aux-Coudres, outings to attend the recording of popular TV programs, and various industry tours. At their monthly meetings, Fermières who travelled abroad were invited to give presentations about their adventures.

Five women wearing bowling shoes are standing in a bowling alley. They hold a ball in their hands and are smiling.

The Fermiere’s Bowling league Les Hirondelles

In 1987, it was time for strikes, spares, and the occasional gutter. A few women started a bowling league called Les Hirondelles (the Swallows). For more than 30 years, the players got together every week for the joy of being active. This added a new string to the Fermières’ bow. These days, most of the outings are in the Saint-Eustache region, but they are still special occasions for the Fermières to enjoy each other’s company.