– If Carnival in Rio is too hot for you and Carnival in Franconia is too boring, Carnaval de Québec might be the right choice.
“Plus fort que le frat!”, Stronger than the cold, is the motto of the event, which takes place every year in late January/early February. No wonder, as winter in Quebec City can be very cold and uncomfortable. To attract the people behind the stove, you have to come up with something.
Unlike Europe, Canada does not have a long tradition of Carnival. The Carnaval de Québec first took place in 1894. Things took a new turn in 1955, when a group of businessmen wanted to kick residents out of their homes with a snow festival and at the same time promote winter tourism.
For this purpose, Bonhomme Carnival was created as a symbolic figure, a snowman with a red pointed hat that resembles the Michelin Man and is especially popular with children. “Bonhomme is not the carnival mascot, but our carnival ambassador,” says Audrey Lavoie, who organizes the festivities for the city on a full-time basis. This also differentiates Quebec from Cologne, Rio or Nuremberg, where the spectacle is mainly drawn by clubs or private companies.
world’s largest winter carnival
The Carnaval de Québec, now the largest winter carnival in the world, is primarily a marketing idea, not an old custom and also has no religious background. It’s not about taking out winter, costume parties, mummies or carnival games, but above all about the party atmosphere, an expression of pure joie de vivre.
Bonhomme Carnaval resides in a huge ice palace in the heart of the city. He has a “Cencher Fletchy” tied around his fat belly; The colorful dress belt is back in fashion with young people and has become a symbol for carnivals. Something else is also needed: Caribou, something like Canadian mulled wine, which has the same name as North American reindeer.
The carnival also includes an Ice Sculpture Festival, in which ice carvers and snow sculptors from around the world create impressive sculptures in public. There is an amusement park next to the Ice Palace where you can also do sports. The main attraction every year is the street theatre, a street parade with music and sumptuously decorated themed floats. The whole area of Quebec is hot on ice these days!
More info here: www.carnaval.qc.ca
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