Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

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Saint-Jean-Baptiste parade in Montreal, June 24, 2006

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (French: Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, la Saint-Jean, Fête nationale du Québec), also known in English as St John the Baptist Day is an official holiday in the Canadian province of Quebec. It takes place annually on June 24. Although, it is not the official name of this holiday, it is popularly known and called in Quebec, as the Fête nationale du Quebec (National Holiday of Quebec).

Fireworks over the Parliament Building in Quebec City on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Originally a religious day, it was brought to Canada by French settlers in the 1600s, celebrating the traditional feast day of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. It was declared a public holiday in Quebec in 1925. In 1977, Quebec declared Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day the national day of Quebec.

Free public concert in The Battlefields Park (Parc des Champs-de-Bataille) in Quebec City on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Other Canadian provinces and territories also have their own official holidays celebrating the foundation of their provinces or territories. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day differs from them, that it is today celebrated like a national day rather than a religious holiday, because it became highly politicized with the rise of Quebec nationalism and separatism. As a result, the religious symbolism of this day is largely forgotten, and acts as a counter holiday for Quebec nationalists and separatists against Canada Day.