According to Mark Humphrey, the parties were named for "the gentle command ('go to sleep') young mothers offered bawling infants." He quotes early Cajun musician Edwin Duhon of the Hackberry Ramblers:
- "She'd go to the cry room, give the baby a nipple and say, 'Fais do-do.' She'd want the baby to go to sleep fast, 'cause she's worried about her husband dancing with somebody else out there."
"Do-do" itself is a shortening of the French verb dormir (to sleep), used primarily in speaking to small children. The phrase is comparable to the American English "beddy-bye",, and is embodied in an old French lullaby, a song sung to children when putting them down for the night. Its existence in Cajun culture as a source for dances, or bands, comes from an affection for the term itself.
Joshua Caffery, however suggests the true derivation is more plausibly the dance call dos à dos (back to back), the do si do call of Anglo-American folk dance; and that sources such as Duhon are merely "repeating the same apocryphal explanation known by almost anyone who lives in Southern Louisiana."
Occurrences include the following:
- An annual bash held by Sheriff Harry Lee of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, raising money for his reelection campaigns and for charity
- The November 28, 2006 broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered
- In the 1986 film Belizaire the Cajun (set in 1859)
- A mention in Brenda Lee's 1958 song "Papa Noel", on the B-side of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
- In the lyrics of Bayou Jubilee, by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, on the album, Dream. "Nothing in this world such a pure delight, as a fais-do-do on a Saturday night."
- In the lyrics of "Diggy Liggy Lo" by Doug Kershaw.
- In the 1989 film J’ai Été Au Bal / I Went to the Dance by Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz, Maureen Gosling.
- Notes from the Roots n' Blues CD "Cajun Dance Party - Fais Do-Do" Sony, 1994.
- Joshua, Caffery. "The Folk Etymology of the Fais Do-Do: A Note". Folklife in Louisiana. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
"Fais do" (1998–2010)
"Mama Lisa’s World :Children's Songs and Nursery Rhymes", Lisa Yannucci (2010)
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