Bonne Fete des Patriotes

Language in Quebec is political. Never more so then when we are about to have a Bank Holiday weekend. So when a Mexican student innocently asks in our French class why Quebec calls it Fete des Patriotes while the rest of Canada calls it Victoria Day, our teacher hesitates, casts me a glance and smiles.
How long have you got? I ask the student. "C'est politique," agrees the teacher.
The province of Quebec is unilingual and fiercely strives to protect the French language here. The last thing it wants to do is celebrate a colonial English holiday. So it created it's own holiday in 2003 to remember the patriot movement of the early 19th century which resisted British domination of what had been a French territory.
The struggle continues today only it's much more polite.
"Bonne Fetes des Patriotes,' I say to my teacher as I leave the class.
"Bonne Fete de la Reine," she replies.


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