Port Elgin Legion Branch 340 once again welcomed the New Year on January 1, 2024 with a traditional levée.
President Bob Harrison and wife Rhonda Harrison, Poppy Campaign Chair, welcomed the many visitors to an afternoon of camaraderie and music followed by a buffet.
Today’s levée is primarily a social event and throughout the afternoon, music by Al Crawford had toes tapping and almost everyone up on the dance floor.
The levée harkens back in history to the 1600s with a long military connection, however the annual event is still hosted by the Governor General of Canada, provincial lieutenant governors, military establishments, municipalities and other institutions, such as the Royal Canadian Legion. The levée has a long tradition in the Canadian Forces as one of the activities associated with New Year’s Day.
The word levée … (from French, noun use of infinitive lever, “rising”, and from Latin levāre, “to raise”) originated in the levée du soleil (rising of the sun) of King Louis XIV (1643–1715).[Wikipedia]
It was in Canada, in fact, that the levée actually became associated with New Year’s Day. The fur traders would paying their respects to the master of the fort who was also the government representative on New Year’s Day.
The first recorded levée in Canada was held on January 1, 1646, in the Chateau St. Louis by Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of New France from 1636 to 1648.
Refreshments were clearly an important element in the New Year’s festivities including the levée, as they still are today.
“We think the New Year’s Day levée is an important tradition to uphold,” says President Harrison. “It gives members and their families, and non-members, the opportunity to get together and welcome in the New Year.”