Word of the Week…casser maison

Word of the Week…en français

casser maison /kɑse/ /mɛzɔ̃/ phrase

A Québécois phrase, literally translated as “breaking the house.” It refers to the ‘divestment’ that many elderly people go through when they move from a longtime family home. Anthropologist Jean-Sébastien Marcoux writes that it refers not just to giving things away, but more importantly placing those things among relatives in order to “ancestralize oneself.” For more information, see his article The ‘Casser Maison’ Ritual: Constructing the Self by Emptying the Home. Thank you to Jeannine Ouellette of Femmes de la Route 11 for the suggestion for this week’s ‘word.’

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