Every year, on the 24th of June, all Québécois get together with friends and family to celebrate their Fête Nationale (National Holiday); la Saint-Jean-Baptiste. It is a privileged moment to celebrate our identity and our culture.
The event originated more than 2000 years ago, in pre-Christian Europe, as the pagan celebration of the summer solstice. The ancients used to light a great bonfire on the evening of the 24th to honour the sun, a tradition that continued into the Middle Ages.
Before the Revolution, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day was a very important event in France. In the night between the 23rd and 24th, the king himself used to light a great Saint-Jean bonfire. This tradition was brought to New France by the first colonists. The first Saint-Jean bonfires in New France date back to 1638. They were accompanied by dancing and singing in every village along the Saint-Laurence river.
Ludger Duvernay, a Patriote, was the first to make the event a patriotic one, in 1834. Duvernay wished to unite the "Canadiens" of the day in the celebration of their national pride, in the hopes of bringing on political change and the end of the military British government. He chose the evening of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to invite about sixty illustrious guests, both French and English-speakers, to a great banquet where the future of the Canadien people was discussed. From that moment on, the old traditional French celebration became the national patriotic Fête of the people of Québec.
*Source: Normand Lester
I'll have fun today and enjoy the wonderful weather, the fire works and great feu de joie :)