The National Holiday of Quebec in Quebec in 2024

The National Holiday of Quebec in Quebec in 2024
Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City Image via Deposit Photos
  How long until The National Holiday of Quebec?
The National Holiday of Quebec
  Dates of The National Holiday of Quebec in Quebec
2025 Tue, Jun 24Regional Holiday
2024 Mon, Jun 24Regional Holiday
2023 Sat, Jun 24Regional Holiday
2022 Fri, Jun 24Regional Holiday
2021 Thu, Jun 24Regional Holiday

Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, the national holiday of Québec and a celebration of French-Canadian culture held on the birthday of Quebec’s patron saint

  Local name
La Fête nationale du Québec
Related holidays

When is the National Holiday of Quebec?

The National Holiday of Quebec (La Fête nationale du Québec) is a holiday in the Canadian province of Quebec.

It is celebrated on June 24th, which betrays the origin of the holiday as this is also St. John the Baptist Day (Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day) - the patron saint of the French Canadians. If June 24th falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on Monday June 25th.

History of the National Holiday of Quebec

The feast day of Saint John the Baptist was a popular feast day in many European countries. The holiday arrived in Quebec along with the first French colonists, with celebrations being noted as far back as 1636. Over the next few centuries, festivities didn't really turn into a major holiday. 

The upturn in its fortunes came, when inspired by Montreal's St. Patrick’s Day festivities, local journalist Ludger Duvernay founded the Société St-Jean-Baptiste in 1834 with the aim of promoting celebrations for St. John. In 1908, St. Jean Baptiste was named the patron saint of French-speaking Canadians. 

In 1925, June 24th became a legal holiday in Quebec. In 1977, it was declared as the Fête nationale (national holiday) in Quebec. The use of 'national' in this context is controversial, due to the different interpretations of the significance of the word nation. While the holiday has become secularized, the day remains popularly called la St-Jean-Baptiste or simply la St-Jean and is still observed in churches.

Celebrations begin on June 23rd with the lighting of bonfires, dancing, and the singing of traditional folk songs. On the morning of the holiday, parades are held in major centres. A Roman Catholic mass is usually followed by popular music concerts.

Most shopping centres, banks and supermarkets are closed. Government offices will be closed. There will be no postal service and public transport may run on a reduced schedule.

The popularity of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day had a surprising knock-on effect on another Canadian holiday. Until the 1970s, Dominion Day, which fell on July 1st, was little more than a day off for most Canadians; the major holiday was Victoria Day. To respond to the Quebec nationalists' promotion of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, the federal government began pushing July 1st as a national holiday for Canada. It did so by changing the name of the holiday to Canada Day and increasing the funds available for its celebration.

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