Today is a day that, while very special to several million people very close to New England, goes almost totally unnoticed just a couple hundred miles away. Originally based on the religious feast of John the Baptist, June 24th has evolved to become la fête nationale in Québec, or the equivalent of our 4th of July. Why a 'national' holiday in a province, you might ask. Well that's a complicated question, as are most things surrounding language and culture just north of here.
I thought I would take the national day to talk about the special article in this month's Merrimack Valley Magazine written by my friend Emilie Provost, "La Survivance". It's "a look at the future of franco-american culture in the Merrimack valley". I was honored to actually be interviewed by Emilie for the article, along with several others including Paul Marion of UMass Lowell. I also had the pleasure to spend a couple of hours visiting with Roger Lacerte, who runs a French language bookstore in Manchester, NH. Incredibly passionate about maintaining québécois culture in New England, visiting with him made me think quite a bit about my father and my other relatives from that generation and the previous one, for whom Québec was much more fresh in their day to day lives.
I hope you check the article out and possibly visit the other world that is a few hours from here.