Saint Jean Baptiste Day is observed on 24 June each year to celebrate the history and culture of French Canadians.
|Year||Date||Day||Holiday||Provinces and Territories|
|2019||24 Jun||Mon||St Jean Baptiste Day||QC|
|2020||24 Jun||Wed||St Jean Baptiste Day||QC|
Historically, the celebration focused on the role of Saint Jean Baptiste in Christianity. Today, the holiday has numerous themes, including patriotism, politics, religion, and culture. Saint Jean Baptiste festivals are always joyous occasions for Quebec’s citizens.
Saint Jean Baptiste Day is often celebrated in areas of the world with large Catholic communities. Outside of Canada, the holiday is widely celebrated in Denmark, Norway, and other areas of Northern Europe.
During the beginning of the 17th century, Saint Jean Baptiste Day was exported from Europe to North America with French colonists. While some scholars state that the holiday was first celebrated in Canada prior to 1610, most official accounts state that the first Saint Jean Baptiste festival was held on June 23, 1636. This festival included a bonfire and feast on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. This lively festival marked the beginning of a tradition in Quebec and other areas of Canada.
In the 19th century, Saint Jean Baptiste Day began to depart from its Catholic origin. Instead of purely being a religious holiday, Saint Jean Baptiste Day became a patriotic event for French Canadians. As a patriotic event, French people in Quebec were able to express their discontent with the British government in Canada.
Over time, Saint Jean Baptiste Day became a symbol of French unity in Canada. As a result of this, patriotic parades and flag ceremonies were added to the holiday’s festivals. On Saint Jean Baptiste Day of 1834, the Canadian national anthem was written. This fact demonstrates the importance of the holiday for Canadians.
Saint Jean Baptiste Day has changed in many ways since its introduction to Canada in the 17th century. Today, the holiday is not considered to be a major religious event. Instead, the citizens of Quebec take to the streets to celebrate their patriotism and values. Because of this, many people view Saint Jean Baptiste Day as Canada’s National Day. While many citizens of Quebec consider this holiday to be a secular event, Saint Jean Baptiste remains the patron saint of French Canadians.