Neighborhood Happenings! What’s Going on in Frenchtown?

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  • Celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day June 24
    5:50 PM
    June 24, 2020

    Celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day – June 24 2020

    The Historic Frenchtown Association would like you to join them in celebrating a day of festivities for French Canadian communities.  The celebration transformed into a holiday of cultural pride.  The French Canadians settled Les Petites Cotes (St. Charles) in 1769.

    So we celebrate the French Canadian history of those who settled in Les Petite Cote – St. Charles.  We can speculate that our French Canadian founders celebrated this festive day along the banks of the Missouri River, as we do today.

    Suggestions for celebrating

    Display a flag in your yard or on your porch

    Bar-b-que with the family

    Have a picnic in your yard

    Make a bonfire to celebrate Summer Solstice

    Play outdoor games

    Listen to French Creole music

    Walk around the neighborhood and see how others are celebrating

    We ask that everyone raise a glass and toss St. Jean Baptiste and the Summer Solstice at 9:00 p.m. throughout the Frenchtown Neighborhood.  Sante!

    If you would like to display a flag- Call or text Marsha @ 636-541-5501 to make arrangements.  Flags will be handed out, first come, first served, due to a limited number available.

    History of St. Jean Baptiste Day

    Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a statutory holiday in Quebec and a day of festivities for French Canadian communities across the nation.  What are the origins and importance of this holiday, you might ask?

    The name Saint Jean Baptiste, of course, refers to St. John the Baptist, the Christian saint and prophet whose feast day is celebrated on June 24.  The Baptist was named the patron saint of French speaking Canadians in 1908, but festivities surrounding his feast go back centuries before that.

    In ancient times, bonfires were lit to honor the summer solstice on or about June 21.  With the spread of Christianity in ancient France in the fifth century, the focus shifted to honoring St. John the Baptist.  Bonfires in the saint’s honor were traditionally lit on the eve of June 24.

    What do people do to celebrate?  The festivities range from large scale public celebrations, music concerts, parades and firework displays, to small family or neighborhood happenings, picnics, barbecues, bonfires and games.  Church bells t.ring and public dances are held.

    During and after World War I, Saint Jean Baptiste Day was barely celebrated, but in 1925 Saint Jean Baptiste Day became a provincial holiday in Quebec.  After a period in the 1960’s, when the structure of society in Quebec changed greatly, this holiday became very political.  However, in 1977 Saint Jean Baptiste day was recognized as the National holiday of Quebec and the mood of the celebrations gradually moved towards that of the secular celebrations in modern time.

    The fleurs-de-lis represents the flower of an iris or a lily.  The fleurs-de-lis is also associated with the Virgin Mary and her purity.  It was a symbol of French speaking people and their kings after King Clovis I converted to Chrisitianity in the year 493.  It was taken from the papal seal or coat-of-arms when the king converted, to symbolize the strength and significance to the French nation in its union with the Papal state.

     

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