Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

June 23, 2009 10:17 ET

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the Occasion of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 23, 2009) - Parades and processions, bonfires and fireworks, jigs and hip hop: for 175 years, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations have reflected the evolution of the customs and traditions of the people of Quebec and Francophone communities all across Canada.

On June 24, 1834, Ludger Duvernay-who would become the first chair of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste (formally founded in 1843)-and about 60 Montrealers of French and English origin organized a celebratory banquet in the gardens of lawyer John McDonnell, not far from the former Windsor station. This would be recognized as the first real Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Two days later, the most influential Francophone newspaper at the time, La Minerve, reported that this holiday, whose goal was to solidify the union of the Canadiens, would not go without bearing fruit and would be marked annually as a national holiday. However, according to the Jesuit Relations, Saint-Jean was in fact first feted in the colony in 1636.

Regardless of what it may be called in the future, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, the "national" Francophone festivity, is today an opportunity for everyone across the country to proudly celebrate everything this day inspires, in a spirit of joy, sharing and friendship.

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day!

Michaelle Jean

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is celebrated on June 24, 2009.

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