I’ll start by wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year. May all your goals be attained and may the price of bitcoin drag Steem ever upward. May the Steem platform continue to grow and flourish.
I’ve never been a person who enjoys the New Years Eve parties. I do enjoy attending the New Years Day Levee held on, yes, you guessed it, New Years Day. For fifteen years as Branch President it was my responsibility to be the official host. Not a duty I enjoyed as much as just attending one.
The term Levee, originated in the “levee du soleil” (rising of the sun) practice of King Louis XIV of France in which he received his male subjects in his bedchamber just after rising. The practice spread throughout Europe.
The first Levee in Canada was held on January 1, 1646 hosted by the Governor of New France Charles Huault de Montmagny. The affair was a time to wish a happy new year to the citizenry and to inform them of significant events in France. It was also a time for allegiance to the crown to be renewed. The English carried on the tradition.
Today the Levee is a largely Canadian tradition with the Governor-General as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Lieutenant-Governor doing the federal and provincial Levees while municipalities and Legions host local ones.
Locally, the Legion hosts the President’s Levee and invites the local Mayor and Council to join in greeting those attending. These days the event draws a more modest attendance than in days past and we have a caterer look after preparing and serving food.
In days past there was always a party New Years Eve for which the Ladies Auxiliary would prepare a huge spread. They always prepared enough for the 150 for New Years Eve and then the 200-300 expected for the Levee the next day.
The recipe for the punch that was given away at the Levee was passed from President to President and it was their responsibility to prepare the 10 gallons of punch the day before. I was the last President to carry on that tradition, each 5 gallon pail of punch contained six 40oz bottles of alcohol and six bottles of wine, citrus fruit and cherries were added before being filled up with various mix. The fruit often packed a pretty potent punch. Someone would usually ask for the leftover fruit at the end of the event to make marmalade with.
The food and punch was laid out by 11am and the party lasted until people finally went home, often into the late evening. Over the years as people became more aware of drinking and driving and the crowd got a bit older, the event became a little calmer. The potent punch had the alcohol content reduced, then a non-alcoholic alternative was offered as well. Eventually we’ve done away with the punch completely. The bar is open and we lay on a spread of food.
Today’s event was well attended by current expectations. Both our clubroom and the banquet room were opened for people to meet, and socialize. The usual dress of the day, especially for the military and Legion members is uniform. Everyone is welcome. We held meat draws aka raffles for packages of meat and a 50/50 draw. These days the Levee runs officially until 6pm but most folks have gone home by 5pm.
A friend of our Mayor arrived from out of town. I know this gent as we’ve shared many a conversation. I greeted him at the door and was introduced to his guest. As we stood their talking he mentioned coming from the same area I grew up in. When I told him that I had grown up there and the family had lived beside Wilma (remember the Who the Heck is Wilma post?) and Stan. He informed me he remembered her. He then told me the name of his farm and I asked him if he had a daughter named Janet. No, he informed me, that is his niece. We had a few laughs about Wilma and memories of her as well as a few other things from the area. Small world.
Hope everyone had a good holiday and here’s to a great year to come.