Today 24 June is the National Day of French Canada also known previously as La Saint-Jean Baptiste. A very old holiday which goes back to ancient times in Gaul, a feast day relating to the worship of the Sun. Today one tradition that remains is the huge bonfire lit at night. PEI was known before as Saint-Jean Island until the British got here.
I remember from my childhood the parades, concerts, bonfires and fireworks on 24 June in Montreal and in Quebec City, huge crowds everywhere. The French presence in Canada is 485 years old and still dominates our National politics to this day.
On this day I remember my own ancestor Nicholas Beaulieu dit Lebel who came to Canada 357 years ago on a troop ship part of Le Régiment de la Reine, something I am very proud of and of all that he accomplished.
La Saint-Jean is and has been the French Holiday for millennia, it is certainly older than any other holiday in France and it resonates with French speaking people because of its origins in ancient Gaul.
Here I present songs from the 1970’s which have a special place in my memory and that of so many French Canadians and/or Quebecois. The words and the music have such meaning to me. One by Claude Dubois about people in Montreal belonging to a certain economic strata and social class and the other by a famous group Beau Dommage about Ginette a girl in the popular imagination.