Friday, June 24, 2011

C'est la Saint-Jean-Baptiste

.. or in Québec, la fête nationale.  Andrew Smith provides a link to this history of the event.   In the French colonial regime, official festivities tended to focus more on the feast of St. Louis (that would be King Louis IX of the Bourbon dynasty), August 25.  But St John the Baptist was associated with New France and later Quebec from early times -- if only because of the surprising frequency with which explorers and colonizers seemed to reach North American shores on or about June 24th.  Early in the 19th century the day was revived, more by politicians and journalists than by the clergy, for a notably secular and political celebration of French life and culture in Montreal and later other communities around Quebec.  And the rest is history