A custom formerly practiced in Pubnico as well as other Acadian villages was the procurement of Easter water on Easter morning. There were two directives to follow in the process: to go to the brook before sunrise; to choose a brook that flows from east to west.
Old Abbott’s Harbour Road.In the south of the village, we usually went to a brook located to the south of Willie LeBlanc’s house, now owned by Léonce d’Entremont. Not far to the north, there was a brook next to Simon Belliveau’s house as well. A third brook was located on the Pond Road, going towards North Pond. However, we would oftentimes go get the water from the brook that skirts the Abbott’s Harbour Road, opposite to Lawrence Amirault’s house, which was located in the center of the village. In the northern part of the village there is also a brook that runs along the “Chemin à Marie Jeanne”, now known as the Old Abbott’s Harbour Road; as well as a brook on the road leading to “Clear Pointe”; and finally “le grand ruisseau” (the big brook), in backwoods near a trail that separates West Pubnico and Pubnico Head.
Easter water was sought for its medicinal properties. Tradition has preserved many versions of the prayer one would recite to the brook, which was necessary to bless the water. Word choice changed slightly from person to person, but the prayers essentially all mean the same thing.
Here are a few examples:
O Jesus my savior, purify this medical water that cures all evil.
Behold the water, so pure and fertile, good and medicinal for all kinds of ailments.
It is God who purifies this medicinal water that cures all ailments and which is fertile for everyone.
It is interesting to note that at the residence of Éléodore d’Entremont, one can still find a bottle of Easter water that has been preserved since 1917. Éléodore collected the water when he was very young and it has remained remarkably pure and limpid over the decades. Éléodore and his wife, Marie, still preserve it preciously.
Eléodore’s brother, Isaire, also boasts a bottle of Easter water that he preserved after all these years. In his case, their son Philippe retrieved the water in the brook between their house and the main road when he was just a young boy. Mrs. Thérèse d’Entremont says that she clearly remembers the morning Philippe got up early and fetched the water.