How is carnival celebrated in Canada?

If the carnival in Rio is too hot for you and the carnival in Franconia is too boring, then Carnival de Quebec might be the right alternative.


“Plus fort que le frette!” , Stronger than cold, is the motto of the event that takes place every year at the end of January / beginning of February. No wonder, because winters can be cold and uncomfortable in Quebec City. In order to attract the people behind the stove, you have to come up with something.

Unlike Europe, carnival in Canada does not have a long tradition. The Carnaval de Québec was first organized in 1894. Things gained new momentum in 1955, when a group of businessmen wanted to lure residents out of their homes with a snow festival and at the same time wanted to boost winter tourism.


For this purpose, Bonhomme Carnaval was created as an avatar, a snowman with a red pointed cap that looks a bit like a Michelin Man and is especially popular with children. “Bonhomme Carnaval is not a mascot, but our ambassador for the carnival,” says Audrey Lavoye, who organizes the festival on a full-time basis for the city. This, too, distinguishes Quebec from Cologne, Rio or Nuremberg, where mainly private clubs or companies take over the scene.

The biggest winter carnival in the world

The Carnaval de Québec, which is now the largest winter carnival in the world, is mainly a marketing idea, not an old custom and also has no religious background. It is not about winter drives, costume parties, mummies or carnival games, but above all about the party atmosphere and expression of pure joy.

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Bonhomme Carnaval lives in a huge ice palace in the middle of the city. He tied a ‘flechette’ around his chubby belly; The colorful costume belt is back in fashion with the youth and has become a symbol of the carnival. Another thing is also necessary: ​​caribou, something like Canadian wine, which has the same name as the North American reindeer.


The carnival also includes an ice sculpture festival, where ice sculptors and snow sculptors from around the world create amazing sculptures in public spaces. Next to the Ice Palace there is a park where you can also do sports. Each year, a street parade is highlighted with street theatre, music and exquisitely decorated floats. Every Quebec is hot on the ice these days!

More information at: www.carnaval.qc.ca

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