What if I told you that the carnival spirit still lives to this very day? What if I told you it happens even in Canada? Would you believe me? Because it is true. Over in Quebec City there is a winter carnival that takes place every winter with a grotesque ringleader who steals the show. His official name is Bonhomme Carnaval.
The seven foot tall snowman is a proud symbol of this festic season in Quebec that started back in 1955. The carnival seasons is known to most Quebecer as the “joie de vivre” which translates to the joy of living. Which in my opinion is a perfect motto for the cold winter months.
Now thanks to the viewpoint of Bakhtin, we can understand how any carnival is a grotesque carnival. In fact, even the face of Bonhomme is one that expresses the grotesque image. Unlike normal snowman who have long pointy sticks or carrots as their nose, Bonhomme is a circular snow nose. On top of that he has two large black holes for eyes, a black curved mouth, two legs, and two hands! It is as if Frosty himself actually did come to life.
Furthermore, the carnival season also represents a symbolic time for most Quebecers. Like explained by Bakhtin, the carnival season is symbolic with clowns, music, and food. By contrast, the carnival in Quebec has its clown mascot who has his very own song and they have special treats such as “tire”(which is a stick that you dip in maple syrup followed by rolling it in the snow), and they build ice sculpture that are the size of large bounce castles with slides to the bottom. Therefore, you get dressed up for the cold winter and preach the words for the joy of living while enjoying a carnival atmosphere. Seems like fun and games at first, but when compared to Bakhtin’s theory it becomes clear that the true meaning is a carnival grotesque.
For your entertainment, here is the song that is song at the carnival: