Although now almost solely a Canadian tradition, the New Year’s levee has roots centuries old. In the 1600s Louis XIV received male subjects just after rising ("Levee du Soleil" or "Rising of the Sun"). Through the centuries the levee became mainly a New Year's Day event, held by the sovereign, government or military. Many Canadian organizations continue to uphold the observance as an opportunity to exchange New Year's greetings, and enjoy refreshments.
The Elgin Regiment is one of many Canadian Forces units and headquarters across the country which greet military and civilian guests starting with a breakfast on New Year's morning, and with their own signature toast to the New Year.
Legions across Elgin County also hold levee events, as do The Knights of Columbus in St. Thomas. Traditionally, many military personnel, veterans and other community members drop in to share New Year’s Day greetings at more than one location.
We took the opportunity this year to visit levees at the Elgin Regiment and at the Aylmer, Rodney and West Elgin Legion branches. Members at each location graciously offered New Year’s greetings, an invitation to look around their facilities, food (and, of course, moose milk). At each, photos and other remembrances of local veterans find a place of honour on the walls.
wall mural by Joe Santos (Legion Branch 221 President) at West Elgin Branch in West Lorne (right)
The annual event is a great reminder of the important role played by the Royal Canadian Legion. At each stop we found members who are clearly proud of the part their organizations and facilities play in the goal of remembrance, service to veterans, and service to the community.
Find out more at http://www.legion.ca/.