🇨🇦 Fête nationale du Québec (Fête de la Saint-Jean)

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Saint Jean Baptiste Day (Fête nationale du Québec, Quebec National Holiday, la Saint-Jean, St. John the Baptist Day) is the national holiday of the Canadian province of Quebec.

Held annually on 24 June, the Fête nationale du Québec (formerly known as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day) has been a statutory holiday in Québec since 1925. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day has been celebrated in North America since the early days of 5950814599512064New France. Originally a religious celebration, it took a more patriotic turn in 1834 with Ludger Duvernay. The first Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade took place in Montréal in 1843. Since 1984, the Mouvement national des Québécoises et Québécois (MNQ) has organized the festivities of the Fête nationale du Québec. Various francophone communities across Canada also celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

Célébrée le 24 juin de chaque année, la Fête nationale du Québec (anciennement appelée la Saint-Jean-Baptiste) est un jour férié au Québec depuis 1925. En Amérique du Nord, la Saint-Jean-Baptiste est célébrée depuis les débuts de la Nouvelle-France. À l’origine une fête de dévotion, elle prend une tangente patriotique à partir de 1834 avec Ludger Duvernay. Le premier défilé de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste a lieu à Montréal en 1843. Depuis 1984, les célébrations de la Fête nationale du Québec sont organisées par le Mouvement national des Québécois et des Québécoises (MNQ). On célèbre aussi la Saint-Jean-Baptiste dans les différentes communautés francophones du Canada.

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Saint Jean Baptiste Day, which is a public holiday in Quebec, is a day to remember John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus Christ.
©iStockphoto.com/BCWH

Origines de la Saint-Jean

Quebec BallonLa fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste tire ses origines des célébrations du solstice d’été, une très ancienne coutume païenne voulant que des feux soient allumés pour célébrer la lumière à l’occasion de la plus longue journée de l’année. En France, l’Église catholique récupère cette fête et y associe la figure de Jean le Baptiste, cousin de Jésus.

La tradition d’allumer le feu de la Saint-Jean pour marquer le début de l’été est transposée en Nouvelle-France dès 1646. En 1694, Mgr de Saint-Vallier en fait une fête chômée vouée à la dévotion. La Saint-Jean continue d’être célébrée après la Conquête, mais ce n’est qu’en 1834 qu’elle prend une couleur politique qu’elle conservera jusqu’à nos jours.

Origins of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day originated from celebrations of the summer solstice, an ancient pagan tradition in which fires were lit to celebrate light on the longest day of the year. In France, the Roman Catholic Church adapted this holiday and associated it with John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus.

The tradition of lighting the Saint-Jean fire to mark the beginning of summer was brought to New France in 1646. In 1694, Mgr de Saint-Vallier declared it a public holiday dedicated to devotion. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day continued to be celebrated after the Conquest, but it was not until 1834 that it took on the political tone it still has today.

What Do People Do?

c150-logo-red-nouvnew_1469624863855_engVarious events are organized on Saint Jean Baptiste Day. These range from large scale public celebrations, such as rock and jazz concerts, sports tournaments, parades and firework displays, to small family or neighborhood happenings, such as yard sales, picnics, barbecues, bonfires and children’s entertainment. Many church bells ring in celebration and public dances and fun fairs are held. Some events may be held on the evening of June 23 and many are broadcast live on television, radio or on the Internet. The celebrations are coordinated by the Mouvement national des Québécoises et des Québécois.

Public Life

Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a public holiday in the Canadian province of Quebec. Post offices and many stores are closed. Public transport services run to a reduced schedule in some places or may not run at all in other areas, such as the province’s rural regions. If June 24 falls on a Sunday, the same day is a paid day off for those who work on Sunday. June 25 becomes a paid day off for workers who do not ordinarily work on Sunday.

Background

Midsummer festivals, such as those linked with the June solstice, were held in Europe for thousands of years. When people converted to Christianity, elements of these festivals were combined with feast days for Christian saints. In France, the celebrations around the feast day of Saint John the Baptist were widely enjoyed and French colonists st-jean-baptisteintroduced these traditions to North America.

The patriotic tone of the Saint Jean Baptiste Day celebrations began in 1834. In that year Ludger Duvernay, an influential journalist, visited the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Montreal, and was inspired to create a similar event for French Canadians. In 1843, he established the Saint Jean Baptiste Society to promote the celebration of Saint Jean Baptiste Day. This organization was supported by the Catholic Church, which saw it as a way to promote social and moral progress. In 1908 St John the Baptist was designated as the patron Saint of Quebec, re-enforcing the connection between Saint Jean Baptiste Day and French-Canadian patriotism.

During and after World War I, Saint Jean Baptiste Day was barely celebrated, but in 1925 Saint Jean Baptiste Day became a provincial holiday in Quebec. After a period in the 1960s, when the structure of society in Quebec changed greatly, this holiday became very political. However, in 1977 Saint Jean Baptiste Day was recognized as the ‘national’ holiday of Quebec and the mood of the celebrations gradually moved towards that of the secular celebrations in modern times.

Quebec BallonLe 8 mars 1834, Ludger Duvernay, l’éditeur du journal La Minerve (importante publication au Bas-Canada et voix du Parti patriote) fonde la société Aide-toi et le ciel t’aidera en compagnie de George-Étienne Cartier, alors étudiant en droit, et de Louis-Victor Sicotte. Cette société, dont le nom rappelle une organisation secrète et révolutionnaire fondée en France en 1827, annonce celle des Fils de la liberté et est en quelque sorte l’ancêtre de la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste. L’organisation se donne pour objectif de doter les Canadiens français d’une fête nationale et d’en organiser les célébrations, comme le font les Irlandais de Montréal depuis 1824 avec le défilé de la Saint-Patrick.

Le 24 juin 1834, Duvernay convie certains notables de Montréal à un premier banquet de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste chez l’avocat John MacDonnell. Lors de cette soirée, qui est avant tout une fête politique réunissant une soixantaine de francophones et d’anglophones (dont le député Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, le futur avocat et premier ministre du Canada-Uni George-Étienne Cartier, le maire de Montréal Jacques Viger et le Dr Edmund O’Callaghan), les convives lèvent leur verre aux 92 résolutions, aux États-Unis, aux réformistes du Bas et du Haut-Canada et à ceux d’Irlande. Dans le compte rendu de ce banquet, plusieurs journalistes incitent la population à fêter publiquement la Saint-Jean-Baptiste l’année suivante, ce qui fut vraisemblablement le cas dans nombre de villages.

Fr: Fête nationale du Québec (Fête de la Saint-Jean) 

EN: Fête nationale du Québec (Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day)

Symbols

The fleurs-de-lis represents the flower of an iris or a lily. The fleurs-de-lis is also associated with the Virgin Mary and her purity. It was a symbol of French speaking people and their kings after King Clovis I converted to Christianity in the year 493. It was taken from the papal seal or coat-of-arms when the king converted, to symbolize the strength and significance of the French nation in its union with the Papal state. Quebec’s flag is one-and-a half times as wide as it is high and has a blue background. The background is divided into four rectangles by a cross and each of the four rectangles contains a single white fleurs-de-lis. The flag of Quebec and the fleurs-de-lis are widespread symbols of Saint Jean Baptiste Day. Many people choose to wear blue or white clothing to the celebrations.

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{Bonne Fete} “Happy Birthday “Canada 2016”

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