Petrolia Mayor John McCharles will uphold an age-old tradition on New Year’s Day.
He’ll preside over the New Years’ Levee at Victoria Hall between 1 and 3 pm New Year’s Day.
Mayor’s Levee began in the 18th Century during the reign of King Louis XIV. To show he belonged to the people, he would invite gentlemen to enter his bedroom on New Year’s Day and watch him wake up to begin serving the public in the New Year.
The custom was brought to Canada by the Royal Governor of New France. He would sit on his doorstep at his Quebec home on New Year’s Day to greet citizen and usher in the New Year.
Today, levees are usually open houses held traditionally in the afternoon. The idea behind the levee is still show government’s role of public service with good cheer on New Year’s Day.
McCharles says it is a great way to ring in the New Year. “I think it is a wonderful event for town people to come and enjoy. There is really no talk about business or town issues, it is just getting together to say hello and welcome the New Year.”
McCharles says it is also a great time to catch up with people he may only see once a year. “It a mixed group of people, it’s not just the theatre people or the parks and rec people or the community center people, it’s a mixture. It’s really quite enjoyable.”