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St. Jean Baptiste Day in Canada

Quick Facts

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.

Local names

NameLanguage
St. Jean Baptiste DayEnglish
Saint-Jean-Baptiste - Fête de la QuébecFrench
Saint-Jean-BaptisteGerman

Alternative names

NameLanguage
Quebec National HolidayEnglish
Fête nationale du QuébecFrench

St. Jean Baptiste Day 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

St. Jean Baptiste Day 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
List of dates for other years

Saint Jean Baptiste Day, held annually on June 24, is the feast day of St John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. It is a day of celebration in Quebec and other areas of French Canada. Saint Jean Baptiste Day is also known as "la Saint-Jean", "St John the Baptist Day", "Fête nationale du Québec" and "Quebec's National Holiday".

St. Jean Baptiste Day in Quebec

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

What do people do?

Various 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 introduced 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.

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.

St. Jean Baptiste Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
SunJun 241990St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 251990St. Jean Baptiste Day observedLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 241991St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
WedJun 241992St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
ThuJun 241993St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
FriJun 241994St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SatJun 241995St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 241996St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
TueJun 241997St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
WedJun 241998St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
ThuJun 241999St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SatJun 242000St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SunJun 242001St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 252001St. Jean Baptiste Day observedLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 242002St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
TueJun 242003St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
ThuJun 242004St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
FriJun 242005St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SatJun 242006St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SunJun 242007St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 252007St. Jean Baptiste Day observedLocal holidayQuebec
TueJun 242008St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
WedJun 242009St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
ThuJun 242010St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
FriJun 242011St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SunJun 242012St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 252012St. Jean Baptiste Day observedLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 242013St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
TueJun 242014St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
WedJun 242015St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
FriJun 242016St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SatJun 242017St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
SunJun 242018St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 252018St. Jean Baptiste Day observedLocal holidayQuebec
MonJun 242019St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec
WedJun 242020St. Jean Baptiste DayLocal holidayQuebec

Other holidays in June 2014 in Canada

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