Quebec

Bonne St-Jean?

June 24 is St-Jean Baptiste day, what’s now called la Fête Nationale, most probably to move away from the religious aspect of this day. After all, it is exactly six months before Christmas – did you start shopping yet? Don’t say nobody warned you! – so you wouldn’t want people to confuse them, right? Everyone: When it’s cold outside, we celebrate the guy with the long brown hair and beard and when it’s lukewarm we celebrate the guy with the short curly blond hair carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Moving on…

John the baptist was the guy who baptized Jesus, by dunkin’ his whole body in the Jordan river. Two thousands years later, Quebecois like to celebrate by dunkin’ their whole body in a pool filled with beer (drink as much as you want) and then drive all the way to Les Plaines d’Abraham in Quebec City to drink more beer and badly sing French Canadian songs of how we French Canadians are oppressed by the English têtes carrées while drinking more beer and then try to jump over the giant bonfire. One time, this guy just climbed over the fence and burned alive while people just stood around looking dazed and confused. It normally rains – which nobody really notices anyways because all Quebecois are drunk starting June 23 at noon until June 25 early evening. All of them. This is like our Woodstock.

When I was younger so much younger than today – help me here – St-Jean Baptiste had a lot more significance than it has for me today. Earlier on, it marked the end of the school year, and the start of a two month hiatus from homework and getting up in the morning and having to do school things at night and on the week-end. Later on it marked the start of hanging around the appartment complex pool from 7 in the morningg until 10 at night, flirting shamelessly with the lifeguard, going out with her and breaking up just before the school year started. Then while in CEGEP, every day slowly became a day off, and after those lovely 7 years, I moved on to the university and the concept of summer vacations slowly died, taking St-Jean Baptiste as collateral damage. 

I used to be a beer-swilling Paul Piché signing long haired Quebecois Pur Laine. Now I drink Single Malt Scotch, listen to Canadian English music and shave my hair. I drive a Japanese car, use an Italian Espresso maker, enjoy French wine, vacation in Cuba, and work… in Ontario.

Maybe St-Jean Baptiste should be called la Fête Internationale.