Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bonne Fête Nationale!

Montreal this time of year is packed with festivals, and when there's not a festival, there's a holiday. We've been here 11 days, and almost every day the major streets are shut down for something or other.

Most enjoyable for us was the Quebec holiday on June 24th, when the Quebecois exuberantly celebrate their history. Sometimes called St.-Jean-le-Baptiste day, this Fete Nationale includes numerous rituals, including this one: le Défilé des Géants (Parade of Giants).

The Giants are, in fact, enormous figurines representing all of the major figures in Quebec's history. I know nothing about Quebec's history. But all of the streets are named after these people! Rene-Levesque, Jeanne Mance, de Bleury, etc. Maybe later, when my kids are being taught under the Canadian school system and learning Canadian history, I'll find out their stories.

It was a super-cool parade, in any case.

I tried to get the kids to smile while holding their Quebec flags - which, moments before, had them shrieking with delight - but by the time I pulled the camera out it had started to rain, and their flag-happiness was (literally) dampened.

One of the other nifty things in this parade, which I unfortunately failed to photograph, was a circus-on-a-tractor-trailer. This was set up like a float - a big cab towing a flatbed trailer behind it. On the back was built up two stories worth of scaffolding, with platforms scattered around, and in one section they had an aerialist spinning on a lyra, and another had mesh netting surrounding a trampoline, where two guys were flipping around, and jugglers and acrobats perched on the top, etc. It was wild! Imagine doing your aerial act on a moving truck?!

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