La Marche du Nain Rouge

March 11, 2013

Detroits Red Dwarf by Billyvoo

Detroit MI, photo by billyvoo

Over 300 years ago, around the same time the city of Detroit was founded, an evil was discovered in and around the city. An evil that has plagued the people and the city, and even wrecked havoc upon the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. This ‘evil’ was said to have been a Nain Rouge, other wise known as the “red dwarf of Detroit.”
~La Marche du Nain Rouge

La Marche du Nain Rouge is held every year on the Sunday following the spring equinox. That’s Sunday March 24, 2013, and they explain:

La Marche du Nain Rouge is an annual Detroit tradition that purportedly dates back to shortly after the city’s founding by the French in 1701. Annually held on the Sunday closest to the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, it is parade and street theater similar in sensibility to Mardi Gras and other Carnival celebrations. However the impetus for La Marche is different.

La Marche drives Le Nain Rouge (The Red Dwarf) out of Detroit, preventing its evil spirit from plaguing the people of the city for the rest of the year. By forcing Le Nain Rouge from the city (and into the spirit plane), Le Nain is banished, transforming Detroiters’ fears and doubts into the hopes of new life and the coming Spring season.

Tradition holds that a citizen of Detroit dresses up as Le Nain Rouge, temporarily embodying its spirit, wearing a mask to conceal identity. As Le Nain Rouge, this person accepts responsibility for leading people through the streets of Detroit to La Marche’s final destination.

Read on for more including pictures and definitely head over to Absolute Michigan to learn much more about one of Michigan’s spookiest stories, Nain Rouge: The Red Dwarf of Detroit.

Billy took this in March of 2011 at the 300th anniversary of La Marche. See it bigger and see more in his La Marche du Nain Rouge slideshow and also check out billyvoo.com.

More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.

3 Responses to “La Marche du Nain Rouge”

  1. e Says:

    Wouldn’t that be spring equinox?


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