Saint Jean Baptiste

Saint Jean Baptiste Quick Facts

AKA NameLa Saint Jean
Hashtags#SaintJeanBaptiste, #StJeanBaptiste
2023 DateJune 24, 2023
2024 DateJune 24, 2024
Saint Jean Baptiste

Saint Jean Baptiste History

St. Jean Baptiste day commemorates the life of John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. He is a symbol of French-Canadian pride and heritage. As Christianity spread through France, celebrations for the summer solstice began to merge with Saint John the Baptist's feast day. French Colonists brought this celebration to Canada however it did not catch on immediately. In 1834, Montreal Saint Patrick's Day celebrations inspired a man named Ludger Duvernay to create a similar celebration for French Canadians. In 1843, he established the Saint John the Baptist Society to promote the day's festive celebrations.

In 1880, the Saint John the Baptist Society organized a National Congress of French Canadians. In 1925, St. John the Baptist Day, known as Saint Jean-Baptiste Day, was recognized as a provincial holiday in the province of Quebec. In the years that followed, the celebration focused less on St. John's feast day and more on the identity and culture of French Canadians. This eventually led the Quebec Government to declare Saint Jean-Baptiste Day as the Quebec National Holiday in 1977. It is an annual statutory holiday that is observed on June 24.

Saint Jean Baptiste Facts & Quotes

  • The official colours for this celebration are the colours of Quebec's flag: blue and white.
  • According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Quebec’s National Day originated from celebrations of the summer solstice. It was started as an ancient pagan tradition in which fires were lit to celebrate light on the longest day of the year. The Roman Catholic church adapted the holiday in France and associated it to John the Baptist.
  • St. John the Baptist is the Patron Saint of French Canadians.
  • St. John has two feast days in the Roman Catholic Church. The first is held on 24 June and it acknowledges his birth. The second is 29 August. It commemorates his death. In the Orthodox Church, the Nativity of the Venerable and Glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist is held on 24 June.
  • I am trying to put Quebec in its place - and the place of Quebec is in Canada. - Pierre Trudeau, Former Canadian Prime Minister, 1968

Saint Jean Baptiste Top Events and Things to Do

  • In Mark 1:7, John is described as wearing camel's hair and eating only locusts and honey. Enjoy something with honey to honour John the Baptist.
  • Wear blue and white, the colours of the Quebec flag.
  • Attend two of the largest Quebec parades in Quebec City and Montreal.
  • Enjoy traditional Quebec foods such as poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy), tortiere (a meat pie), and maple syrup!
  • Take the opportunity to practice your French in Quebec. It's the official language in the province of Quebec. Since most residents are fluently bilingual, it's a great opportunity to practice.

Saint Jean Baptiste References and Related Sites

Alexander J. Burke: John the Baptist: Prophet and Disciple (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006),
La Republique Libre: La Saint Jean
Montreal Gazette: Why Celebrate La Saint Jean

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