There was a time that a big, full moon like the one in the news right now was all a Cajun parent or grandparent needed to convince their kids to watch out for the rougarou, but have today's young people even heard the legend?

As a fan of folklore, mythology, and horror fiction and movies, I've always been fascinated by the legend of the rougarou, the Cajun version of the werewolf legend. The rougarou has its origins in the medieval French legend of the loup-garou, a werewolf very similar to the stories we know from books, movies, and TV. Cajuns changed the pronunciation and spelling of the word when they migrated to Louisiana, and the rich Catholic tradition of the Acadians mixed with the werewolf legend to become the rougarou. Children would be told that they could become a rougarou by failing to keep their Lenten duties or that they might become a rougarou if they were cursed by a witch or voodoo priestess.

Last October, I was subbing at a Lafayette school and decided to informally survey the students to see if the rougarou legend still lives today. I was surprised by the results and I think you will be, too. If you grew up hearing stories of the rougarou, pass them on to your children, not to scare them but to preserve and pass our rich Cajun folklore.

Click here to read more about the rougarou and Cajun folklore.

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