Thursday, July 1, 2010

Montreal's La Fete Nationale Parade (Sainte Jean Baptiste Day) June 24th

Sainte Jean Baptiste Day (June 24th) is celebrated throughout Quebec. Since 1977 it has been celebrated officially as the national holiday (La Fete Nationale) of Quebec. This year we attended the La Fete Nationale Parade which was a wonderful surprise. Not the typical parade of bands and floasts with little cohesiveness of message. The Parade was a celebration of the important events, ideas, and people who have been influential throughout history of Quebec. It was a riot of color and sound; a sea of blue and white. There were ginormous, magnificent “giants” carved from wood and decorated in fabric which depicted the famous and influential Quebeckers from founding to modern day. Although all in French (and we speak little French) the message and importance of these events, ideas, and people were not lost on us. The parade was a riotous celebration of Quebec and its language, French. But this was no “white man, euro-centric” French (which I’m afraid many of us outside of Quebec think). In looking at the faces IN the parade and all the faces lining the parade, we were struck by the inclusiveness of Quebec. A rainbow of ethnicity lined the street. What binds them together? Their shared experiences of culture and history in Quebec and yes, their language, French.

more photos of the parade please check out:

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