Québec in celebration

The national date of June 24 will have several cultural activities celebrating Québec pride; Brazil will also have a program to mark the occasion

By Sérgio Siscaro

One of the most important commemorative dates in Canada’s history is celebrated on June 24. It is La Fête Nationale du Québec, or Québec’s National Holiday, which moves the entire population of the French-speaking area of the country in a series of events that highlight the local culture, with outdoor parties and parades. In 2022, not least because of the relaxation of the security rules adopted in recent years due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the celebration is expected to be marked, with a taste of resumption of Québecois pride.

The festivities, which began in Montreal as early as June 17, include free music concerts in open spaces; video screenings on the façade of the Hôtel du Parlement; traditional dance performances; cultural competitions; screenings of films produced in Québec; and various other attractions. It is important to note that several initiatives are aimed at enhancing the use of the French language, a source of pride for the Québec community. The program activities can be accessed here.

The date will also be celebrated here in Brazil. The Québec Office in São Paulo (BQSP) promotes on the 24th a reception organized for partners at Pacaembu Stadium, in São Paulo. The third Québec at Home film screening will also be promoted, in partnership with the Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP). Other initiatives include activities to promote and celebrate the date in conjunction with the National Service for Commercial Learning of Pernambuco (Senac-PE) and the Alliance Française of Recife (PE); and, on the 28th, a webinar on studying in the Montreal region, promoted with the support of Air Canada and the agency Montréal International.

The origins

Better known as the Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the celebration originated in the colonial period, as the celebration of St. John’s Day was a very popular event in France. The earliest records of such festivities in North America date back to 1606, when the date was remembered by the first settlers in what would become the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A more patriotic tone would be incorporated beginning in 1834, when the song “Ô Canada! mon pays, mes amours” would become part of the celebrations – and Montreal’s La Minerve newspaper would cement the notion that the holiday was meant to commemorate the union of Canadians.

The politicization of the party also became intense from the 1960s on, when the so-called “Quiet Revolution” brought about a series of important changes in Quebec, such as the creation of a welfare state, secularization and investment in the public education system, nationalization of electricity production and distribution, and the emergence of movements advocating greater autonomy for the province and strengthening the use of the French language.

A importância cultural de La Fête Nationale du Québec fez com que um decreto do governo do primeiro-ministro de Quebec, René Lévesque, declarasse em 1977 que a celebração passaria a ser um feriado oficial – ou seja, válido para todos os habitantes da província, e não apenas para os de origem franco-canadense ou The cultural importance of La Fête Nationale du Québec prompted a decree by the government of the premier of Québec, René Lévesque, in 1977, declaring that the celebration would become an official holiday – that is, valid for all the inhabitants of the province, and not only those of French-Canadian or Catholic origin. A year later, the committee responsible for organizing the festivities was created, which in 1984 would become the responsibility of the Mouvement National des Québécoises et des Québécois (MNQ).