MONTREAL -- It was precisely 74 years ago, on Jan. 21, 1948, that the fleur-de-lis replaced the British Union Jack atop the central tower of the Quebec City National Assembly.

The Quebec government, led by Premier Maurice Duplessis, issued a decree and granted the blue-and-white emblem the status of official flag of Quebec.

To mark the ceremony, Jan. 21 was declared Flag Day.

The Mouvement national des Québécois says that the flag is one of the most powerful means of communication of its existence as a nation and is an element of identification to attract attention and to identify a jurisdiction.

Premier François Legault wrote on social media on Friday that Flag Day is an important day for the identity of Quebecers. He invited them to celebrate their history and culture.

Activities highlighting Flag Day are taking place across Quebec on Friday, including distributing celebratory materials, ceremonial flag-raisings, various social media activities and broadcasting vignettes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 21, 2022.