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Over There (in the UK)

October 30, 2000 at 4 PM

Afternoon! It was a long,

Afternoon! It was a long, hectic weekend as I acted in a student film being shot in my apartment.

Today's link answers a question that I've harboured for much time: how the heck did one St. John the Baptist become such an important guy here in Quebec?

Though it is officially La fête nationale — a product of the de-Catholicization of Quebec — Quebecers still call the day "St-Jean-Baptiste," albeit without much sense of the man himself. The buses flash "BONNE ST-JEAN!" every June 24th with pride, and the passion, emotion and mayhem make the following week's Canada Day celebrations look sleepy at best.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, St-Jean-Baptiste Day traces its roots back to France, where it was once celebrated as an important Catholic event. Only like so many other customs the original French colonists brought with them, it lasted much longer in the new country than the old.

One other tidbit you might care to know: St-Jean-Baptiste was originally celebrated just as fervently by English Quebecers as French ones. The nationalist Québécois sentiment that dominates the holiday now really has little to do with the original event.

"Quelle surprise," says I, who notices that rewriting history to suit modern interests is all too common a practice.

Comments

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Previously: One of the grandly hyped

Subsequently: The Napster debate continues with

October 2000
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