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Carnaval puts the fun in French

By February 10, 2022February 13th, 2022No Comments
These Grade 6 Ecole St. Thomas students (L-R) Lib, Kailyn and Peyton were all smiles sampling some la tire (maple syrup on a stick) during Carnaval celebrations last week. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

C’est la vie and long live Bonhomme!

That’s what many students at École St. Thomas are saying after learning more about the French language and culture during their recent winter Carnaval.

The annual event, held Feb. 1-5, offers students a fun mix of learning with traditional French and aboriginal food sampling, along with indoor and outdoor activities and games.

“It’s the celebration of the French language. We are a French immersion school and we try really hard to incorporate some of the culture that we have happening,” said vice-principal Chantale Salt. 

“Carnaval helps to promote that—the cultural aspect of the language and the wonderful things we do to celebrate it.”

Cold weather nixed some of the planned outdoor games, but there was plenty to do indoors.

Activities ranged from gum boot and krump dancing to drumming workshops to the beat of an instructor on Zoom.

The highlight of the week as always says Salt is “la tire,” which means maple syrup on a stick dipped in snow.

“It kind of makes a nice toffee when you put it in snow,” said Salt.

“Everyone likes it. It’s so nice and sweet. Who can say no to maple syrup.”

Bon appetite. That goes for some cooked bannock over an open-fire stoked by aboriginal coordinator, Cynthia Young, and her husband, Mike.

“We’ve built a big fire and got a bunch of wiener sticks,” said Cynthia on a cold day-two of Carnaval.

“The ‘dreamcatchers’ went out last weekend and got about 100 wiener sticks for us to wrap the bannock around the stick and have the kids cook it and experience that.”

Each student was presented with the recipe to make at home or when they go camping.

“It fits in perfectly with Carnaval,” said Cynthia, noting patience is required to cook it.

“They have to stand over the fire quite some time before their bannock is fully cooked. They are learning how to stay warm in a cold atmosphere.”

Students also got to enjoy a hot chocolate and a cookie during Carnaval that is modelled after the Quebec Carnaval, which is in full swing this week.

Bonhomme, the Carnaval-friendly mascot, also added some French flavour at École St. Thomas.

Salt says each year he comes from Quebec and stays all week and says hello to the students and participates in the activities until the closing ceremonies last Friday.

“His presence is needed at the Quebec Winter Carnival,” said Salt.

The annual mini Carnaval is financially sponsored by Canadian Parents for French, a national network that purchased the maple syrup and is supported by the School Community Council.