The Carnival

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The Carnival —  About the Carnival
Carnaval de Québec

A bit of history...

The tradition of celebrating from the end of January until mid-February is not new! In Quebec City, the world's snow capital, the first major winter carnival was born in 1894.

A population often experienced by the rigors of winter then puts on a snow festival to warm the hearts. Interrupted by the two world wars and the great economic crisis of 1929, the Carnival re-emerged sporadically until the second half of the century. 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.

As the 65th edition neared, the Quebec Winter Carnival prepared for the next step of its development through an orientation exercise under the guidance of Mr. Daniel Gélinas. The Carnival organization strongly believes this fundamental effort will support the evolution of our event. This new vision centers around three axes: creating a program based on major events, fostering community partnerships to promote associated activities, and optimizing visibility of the Carnival within Quebec City. The 2019 Carnival is already taking its first steps down this exciting new path. We’re condensing our activities over 10 days, updating classics like the Ice Palace and the Parades and propping up associated activities all over town. Come take a look—Bonhomme is expecting you!

Carnival traditions

Red clothing, festive songs, the arrow sash, Bonhomme’s Effigy and the famous caribou are time-honored traditions going back to the origin of the Carnival, if not earlier.

The arrow sash

If the sash is still present in Quebec society today, it is largely thanks to the Quebec Winter Carnival. In the 19th century, this belt was used to tighten the coats at the waist to prevent the cold from engulfing. She could also support the back during the effort.

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 basic pattern, called chevron, is universal.

Here's how to tie your arrow sash

Place the belt around the waist, herringbone from the left band pointing down.


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


Make a loop: pass the left band under the one on the right, then flap it forward!


Chevrons point downwards, and above all, keep the sash to your left, where your ❤️ is.

The song Salut Bonhomme

* Bonhomme Carnaval avec sa trompette

The trumpet

To set the mood, nothing better than these long red or blue trumpets that animate the course of the Carnival of Quebec Night Parades! Come on, dress in red, tie your sash and tie 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 through the years