The initiative of a journalist named Ludger Duvernay, who adapted the holiday in 1834 after seeing the festivities of the Irish celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s now a statutory holiday in Quebec, moving from the 1834 banquet with political leaders, to a parade in 1843, and to even greater festivities.
In 1908, Saint-Jean-Baptiste was proclaimed the patron saint of French Canadians by Pope Pius X.
Here in Ontario, home to Franco-Ontarians and especially, Franco-Sudburians, Francophone organisations hold festivities across the province. St-Jean Sudbury celebrates the day with events, flag raising and Francophone-language pride.
The day is especially poignant for the Francophone community this year, given the impact the Laurentian University insolvency has had on post-secondary French-language education in the North. Many Francophone organizations like Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, publisher Éditions Prise de Parole and the La Nuit sur l’étang music festival were born there, as was the Franco-Ontarian flag itself.
Made an official emblem of the province on Sept. 21, 2020, the flag was designed and created by Laurentian University history professor Gaétan Gervais, along with student Michel Dupuis, and seamstress Jacqueline England.
The celebrations this year for St. Jean Sudbury will again be virtual. A full list of the events, in addition to the links where they can be viewed, are found here.
That does not mean, however, that there is no fun to be had.
Fun for children began on June 21 with a Virtual Frog hunt, presented by le Centre Victoria pour femmes, where stuffed frogs are positioned at locations, photographed and posted to facebook for kids to guess the location, as well as an interactive story game called Kahoot de la St-Jean, presented by Desjardins.
There were video capsules launched, presented by the Centre franco-ontarien de folklore. Each video features a song or story told by a community member, allowing you to listen to the history of folklore favourites like ‘L’homme fort de Moonbeam’, among others.
Family fun began at 10:30 with a family activity, a craft project with simple materials that will allow you to follow the Sudbury and Nipissing-West Francophone Scouts (as well as the Greater Sudbury Training Centre) as they create a homemade picture frame.
Viewers got a chance to hear about the new pamphlet from ACFO called “Lancement les francophones de Sudbury: une brève histoire” (Sudbury’s Francophones: A brief History is the name of the english version.) You may remember this work from a recent Sudbury.com story with former Sudburian Serge Dupuis. After the launch, you can find the pamphlets here.
At noon, another visit with the CSCGS as they demonstrate traditional recipes for cooking beans in three different ways, as well as an Acadien dessert.
The afternoon will feature an hour of ‘des chansons à répondre’, (songs to respond to) at 2 p.m. featuring the traditional songs that call for the audience to take part, and at 3 p.m. is the launch of a movie called Mémoires de la route 11 (Memories of Highway 11). Both are presented by the Centre franco-ontarien de folklore, as is another chance to sing along with a 5 p.m. performance.
At 5:30 p.m. it’s family time, presented by the Carrefour francophone, the Salon du livre du Grand Sudbury and the CSCGS immigration team. You can move with Tara Luz Danse, a dance company from Ottawa, then hear a live story wil Alexandre Matte called Il y a trop de chats dans la maison! (There are too many cats in the house!) and families are invited to turn on their cameras to better interact with the storyteller. Then you’ll hear a story of Africa from Tibila Sandiwidi, brought to you by the Immigration department of the CSCGS.
On June 25, the winners of the children’s games will be announced, and at 1:45 p.m. there will be “Le gros show d’la St-Jean” (The St. Jean’s Big Show), a collaboration between le Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario CSPGNO cultural animation team and the Carrefour francophone de Sudbury.If you would like to find out more about the events on June 24, visit StJeanSudbury.ca.