About the Carnival

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About the Carnival —  About the Carnival
Carnaval de Québec

A bit of history…

The tradition of celebrating from the end of January until mid-February has been around for a long time! In Quebec City, the world’s snow capital, the first major winter carnival made its debut in 1894.

A population often faced with harsh winters decided to put on a snow festival to warm their hearts. Interrupted by the two world wars and the Great Depression of 1929, the Carnival resurfaced sporadically until the second half of the century. In 1954, with a view to promoting the economic development of the Old Capital, a group of business people relaunched the festivities and chose Bonhomme as the event’s representative. The first edition of the Québec Winter Carnival took place in 1955 and became a must-attend event for the people of Quebec City and the impetus behind the city’s winter tourist activities. Today, the Québec Winter Carnival is undeniably a major winter event and continues to be a driving force in Quebec’s winter life.

In 1954, in a perspective of economic development of the Old Capital, a group of business people revived the party and chose Bonhomme as representative of the event. The first edition of the Quebec Winter Carnival took place in 1955. The Carnival became a must-attend event for the people of Quebec City and the driving force behind the winter tourist activity in the city. Today, the Quebec Winter Carnival is undeniably a major winter event and remains a driving force in Quebec’s winter life.

Carnival traditions

Red clothing, carnival songs, the arrow sash, Bonhomme’s Effigy and the famous caribou are all time-honoured traditions dating back to the origins of the Carnival.

The arrow sash

It is largely thanks to the Québec Winter Carnival that the arrow sash still exists in Quebec society today. In the 19th century, this belt was used to tighten coats around the waist to prevent the cold from creeping in while also providing back support.

Many believe that the arrowhead technique is of Aboriginal origin whereas it is rather a mixture of two methods: Native American weaving and French-Canadian weaving. The Aboriginals helped to preserve the arrow sash by trading their furs in exchange for the sash. The Quebec arrow sash is unique in the world with its arrows rather than chevrons, as in the universal technique.

Here’s how to tie your arrow sash
1

Place your sash around your waist, chevrons from the left band pointing downwards.

2

Cross the two bands of the sash keeping the left band on top.

3

Make a loop, by putting the left band under the band on the right, then flap it forward.

4

Final result: Chevrons point downwards. Wear the sash on your left, on the same side as your ❤️.

The Salut Bonhomme song

* Bonhomme Carnaval avec sa trompette

The trumpet

Nothing better than these long red or blue trumpets to liven up the mood along the Carnival Night Parade route! Come on, dress in red, tie your sash and put on your tuque, because in Quebec, it’s a tradition to celebrate!

Did you know that the Carnival trumpet can produce up to 114 decibels?

Carnival throughout the years