The United States is well-known for its extravagant Christmas celebrations and traditions. But its northern neighbor has its share of charms and practices when it comes to this holiday season. Canada is a massive country with people from various cultures living there.
Therefore, there seems to be a variety of Christmas traditions in Canada. Several customs and holidays are influenced by the French, English, Irish, Scottish, German, Norwegian, Ukrainian, and native/first nation cultures.
Many Canadians unwrap their gifts on Christmas Eve, while others wait until Christmas Eve to open their stockings. Canadians like sending Holiday cards to their friends and relatives. Others will open one item and save the other gifts until Christmas Day.
Canadians also enjoy putting up Christmas trees, lighting, and other decorations on their homes. Christmas stockings are frequently hung by the fireplace, waiting for Santa! On the other hand, individuals from various cultures have their own Christmas favorites.
If there’s enough snow at Christmas, people want to go skiing, skating, and sledding! Kids in Canada believe in Santa Claus like other children worldwide and take pride that Santa Claus originated from their country.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade has been one of the world’s oldest and biggest Santa parades! Santa first went through the streets of Toronto in 1913. On the walk, kids followed Santa and paraded beside him. It’s been going on for over a century.
Santa parades have grown into a massive event with over 25 animated floats and over 2000 participants! It’s televised all around the world. The Inuit created the ‘Sinck Tuck’ holiday, now observed in various Canadian regions. Dancing and exchanging gifts are part of this event.
Typically Canadian households have a fir or pine Christmas tree since the Eastern Canadian region of Nova Scotia is known throughout the world for its Christmas trees. Due to the aid offered after the Halifax Explosion, one Canadian tradition is sending their largest, best fir tree (produced in Nova Scotia) to Boston, Massachusetts.
The Nova Scotian Christmas Tree is always a favorite among Bostonians. This tree is throughout the city and then lit during a function to kick off Christmas. This practice has been followed for many years.
Mummering, sometimes known as mumming or Jannying, is a Christmas house-visiting tradition from Newfoundland and Labrador, Ireland, and pockets of the United Kingdom. Once the mummers are recognized, they remove their disguises, mingle with the hosts, and then head to the next house as a group.
If the host cannot figure out who the Mummers are in some places, the host must join the Mummers in their revelry. Mummering is a festive hobby for adults during the holiday season. Mummers typically appear between December 26th and January 6th (The 12 Days of Christmas). Mummering is now illegal in several regions since it was often a cover for begging.
Belsnickeling is yet another Christmas ritual on the south shore of Nova Scotia, where people are dressed in comical Santa costumes and walk from house to house until the residents figure out who they are. It was particularly well-liked in West and East Green Harbour.
They were well-known for their musical instruments and singing. People served them Christmas cake or cookies. The German immigrants who landed in Lunenburg and the South Shore in 1751 brought this practice to Nova Scotia.
Some individuals in northern Canada organize Taffy Pull. Single women will have the opportunity to meet eligible single guys at this party! This event is a dedication to Saint Catherine, the patron saint of lone women.
The Christmas Light-up Contest is held in Labrador City, Newfoundland. Residents decorate their homes with lights on the outside and frequently have large ice sculptures on their front lawns!
Roast turkey with veggies and ‘all the toppings,’ such as mashed potatoes and vegetables, is often the significant Christmas supper. Christmas/plum puddings and mincemeat tarts are two traditional Christmas treats. Many Canadians enjoy Christmas crackers as well.
After attending Christmas Eve Mass, many families of French ethnicity host a large feast/party known as a ‘Réveillon,’ which lasts well into the dawn of Christmas morning. When people attend Midnight Mass, they expect ‘Père Noel’ (Santa) to visit them and leave gifts underneath the tree for their youngsters.
For folks in Quebec, the traditional Christmas feast is a stew called ‘ragoût aux pattes de cochons,’ cooked from pigs’ feet! But, many people now consume a ‘Tourtière,’ a venison meat pie (or pork or beef).
The Bûche de Noel – a chocolate log – is a favorite cake, mainly in Quebec and among individuals of French descent. On January 6th, Epiphany (Épiphanie in French), citizens in the province of Quebec celebrate ‘La Fêtes des Rois,’ which marks the end of the Christmas season.
There is a relatively sizeable Ukrainian community (the third-largest globally, following Ukraine and Russia). For Christmas, Canadian Ukrainian households will prepare the customary 12 meal items.
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