Sooke mayor resurrects New Year’s levée

Just like monarchs and magistrates of old welcomed their town folk in the new year, Maja Tait will hold a special levée on Jan. 1

Welcoming the new year in happy spirits is always a good idea, so Sooke is bringing back a New Year’s tradition that’s lost everywhere else in the world except Canada: the levée.

Just like monarchs and magistrates of old welcomed their town folk in the new year, more than 300 years ago in Europe, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait will hold a special levée on New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) in the Sooke council chamber at Municipal Hall from 10 a.m. to noon.

Unlike previous levées, there will be extra celebration woven into the event to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. Overall though, it’s just a feel-good, welcoming event for everyone in the community to come and enjoy.

“It’s just a nice way of greeting everyone into the new year and starting off fresh and on a positive note,” Tait said

Refreshments will be served along with music performances by Harmony Project students and The Beatniks, featuring Janet McTavish.

What is a levée anyway?

In holding a New Year’s levée, Sooke is carrying on a tradition that’s more than 350 years old in Canada. It’s derived from European tradition, though the practice of the Crown’s representative or mayors hosting their citizens at the start of each year has evolved into a distinct, almost uniquely, a Canadian tradition.

“Beyond its historical resonance, the levée is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to come together and meet their representatives and each other, as well as help build a sense of community,” said John Lutz, chair of the department of history at the University of Victoria.

Like the word dictates, it’s French, originating from levée du soleil (rising of the sun) of King Louis XIV. It was his custom to receive his servants in his bed chamber after rising, a practice that spread throughout Europe.

While the tradition is no longer held in Europe, it continues to live on in Canada. More than 50 towns in Canada have New Year’s levées, including Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Esquimalt.

The first recorded levée in Canada was on Jan. 1, 1646 at the Chateau St. Louis in Quebec by Charles Huault de Montmagny, governor of New France from 1636 to 1648.

Either way, a levée’s purpose is to meet and greet each other at the start of something new, as well as enjoy good company, good entertainment, and delicious treats, Tait said.

Not a bad way to start the new year.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Famed Syrian artist displays paintings created while living in refugee camps

Farid Abdulbaki’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ exhibit will be displayed May 24-26 in Victoria

Mighty Garage Sale offers boost to Metchosin groups

Metchosin Community Association holds annual sale on May 25 and 26

Mad Hatter’s Ball offers laughs in support of Boys and Girls Club

Annual fundraising event features improv performances at McPherson Playhouse May 24

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read