June 24 – Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec

Posted June 24, 2013

Today is another version of Midsummer celebration—this time bundled into the feast day of John the Baptist. In Quebec, the observation of Saint John-the-Baptist's Day took on a patriotic tone starting in the 1800s. Just as Saint Patrick's Day has come to be a time to celebrate all things Irish, the early promoters of Saint-Jean- Baptiste Day felt that the holiday would rally French Canadians to gather in Quebec and take pride in their language and culture.

Some of the traditions, such as lighting bonfires, came straight out of the Midsummer playbook. Other traditions include parades, fireworks, and musical concerts.

By the way, like Saint Patrick's Day, this Catholic feast day has been largely secularized. It is a national holiday in Quebec, so even English-speakers and non-Catholics have the day off work and attend various events. There have been a few protests and even a riot connected with the holiday; some people in Quebec want to pull out of Canada, and this patriotic holiday seems to some separatists to be the perfect time to make their arguments. There has also been some tension about the use of the English language during a French Canadian event. A few years ago, two Quebec bands were going perform in a Montreal event—but always sing their songs in English. Some complaints about this caused the organizers to ban the musicians from the concert. Outrage rained down upon the organizers, with both French-speaking and English-speaking Quebecers criticizing the ban. So the organizers put the two bands back on the program!

Learn more about Quebec and French Canada.

  • Here is a brief history of the settlement of Canada. Knowing the history helps you understand why there are French and English speakers in the country.
  • Here is a KidZone website with info about and maps of Quebec.
  • Here are some songs in French and English, including “O Canada.”

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest pages on June holidayshistorical anniversaries in June, and June birthdays.

And here are my Pinterest pages on July holidayshistorical anniversaries in July, and July birthdays.

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