the Governor General, Lieutenant Governors, the military,
municipalities, and other organizations the levées serve to
welcome in the new year and create on opportunity for the
public to pay their respects.
or 'to rise') originally was a
term used to describe the
morning court King Louis
XIV held in his bedchamber
after awaking. This practice
spread throughout Europe.
The British changed the
tradition by making the
levée a formal reception in
the afternoon or evening.
The association with New
Year's arose in Canada as
fur traders commonly paid
their respects to the master
of the fort on New Year's.
War Two when female officers of the armed forces began
attending the military levées. From that point on both men
and women have attended the New Year's Levée.
Refreshments are a major part of the levées. It is believed that
those who came to pay their respects to the civil leaders
expected to be fed. This expectation apparently once caused
an "almighty row" in 1856 on Vancouver Island when the colonial governor's levée was not to the attendees liking.
While once common the levée has over time become nearly an
exclusively Canadian tradition.
A Kisaragi Colour