National Patriots’ Day in Quebec Date in the current year: May 20, 2024

National Patriots’ Day in Quebec On the Monday preceding May 25, most Canadian provinces and territories observe Victoria Day, a federal holiday originally established in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday. In Quebec, however, the holiday’s name is National Patriots’ Day (Journée nationale des patriotes).

Canadians began to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. It was declared an official holiday following the Queen’s death in 1901. However, the people of mostly francophone Quebec weren’t particularly fond of the British monarchy, and gave the holiday a new name, Fête de Dollard, in honor of Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, who is regarded as an iconic figure in the history of New France.

Patriot’s Day was originally celebrated in November to commemorate the Lower Canada Rebellion, also known as the Patriots’ War. It was an armed conflict between the Patriotes movement of the Province of Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) and the colonial government that refused to introduce political reforms.

In 1834, members of the Parti patriote (Patriot Party) drafted the so-called Ninety-Two Resolutions, essentially a list of demands for political reforms addressed to the colonial administration. They were ignored by the authorities for almost three years until Secretary of State for the Colonies John Russell responded to them by rejecting all demands.

His ten resolutions, commonly known as the Russel Resolutions, reached Canada and sparked an armed rebellion. The Lower Canada Rebellion lasted from November 1837 to November 1838, resulting in the defeat of the rebels and the formation of the unified Province of Canada.

The anniversary of the Patriots’ War was first observed in the municipality of Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu in 1937 to commemorate the centennial of the rebellion. Twenty-five years later, on the 125th anniversary of the rebellion, a public celebration in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu became an annual event.

In 1982, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec declared Patriot’s Day to be celebrated on the Sunday closest to November 23. However, he didn’t make the observance a statutory holiday. Some citizens of Quebec began to campaign for Patriots’ Day to be declared one, either as a new statutory holiday or instead of an existing one.

In 2001, Premier of Quebec Bernard Landry proposed that Patriot’s Day be established as a statutory holiday celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25, replacing the Fête de Dollard and coinciding with Victoria Day. The government of Quebec officially recognized the holiday in 2002, and the first celebration of National Patriot’s Day in Quebec took place on May 19, 2003.

National Patriot’s Day festivities includes parades, concerts, historical reenactment of the key events of the Patriot’s War, public speeches, banquets, awards ceremonies, firework displays, and other events. Since Patriot’s Day is a statutory holiday in Quebec, schools, universities, government offices, banks, and some stores are closed for the day, and public transport operates on a holiday schedule.

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National Patriots’ Day in Quebec, holidays in Canada, holidays in Quebec, public holidays, statutory holidays