St-Jean-Baptiste / Fête Nationale Holiday
La Fête St-Jean-Baptiste, also known affectionately as simply “La St-Jean”, has a long history in Québec and in the United States.
St. John the Baptist is recognized by Catholics as the patron saint of French Canadians. Given the large number of French Catholics who emigrated from Quebec to New England, it is no surprise that the St-Jean was soon recognized as the patron saint of Franco-Americans as well. His feast day is June 24th.
Beyond its religious significance, Quebec recognizes June 24th as its national holiday “La Fête Nationale”. In Québec, this holiday is celebrated much like the 4th of July in the US with parades, bonfires and celebration.
The Franco-American Centre, and many French organizations before it, have celebrated this holiday in many ways over the years. The early 20th Century featured princesses from each Franco high school in town. They vied to become the queen of a very large parade with floats and bands down Elm St., not unlike the St. Patrick’s Day parade in modern times. Celebrations included bonfires at West Side parks and even in the parking lot next to the ACA building. Recent years have included a commemorative Mass and Gala Dinner. In 2019, we will be celebrating through an entire weekend of festivities, beginning with NH PoutineFest on June 22 and continuing with the Franco-American Heritage Game at the NH Fisher Cats on June 23. Though the activities have changed, each year’s events have attempted to capture the essence of bringing families together to share our cultural identity.
The Franco-American Centre is pleased to commemorate the significance of this day by honoring the Franco-American of the Year. In doing so, it is not only a recognition of this year’s award recipient or of the recipients from previous years. It is a recognition of the best contributions of all those Franco-Americans who have contributed positively to strengthening the fabric of our Franco-American community.
However you celebrate, BONNE ST-JEAN!!