Canada is a country rich with history, beautiful places and mountains, divergent cultures, traditions and activities that are exceptionally remarkable to this region. Due to its popularity as a holiday destination it enthrals the travellers all around the year. But the period, stretching from late November to Christmas and New Year has a distinct purport for every people residing in Canada. This festive time and jubilant spirit makes the tourists more familiar with some of the most beautiful aspects of this country. In Canada, people from many different cultural backgrounds reside and thus, there are lots of different Christmas traditions in Canada and many of these traditions either derive from English or French or Irish or Scottish or Norwegian or German or Ukrainian or from the native Canadian tribal customer and traditions.
The arrangements for Christmas commences with Advent, a Sunday, four weeks before Christmas. During this period many families often decorate their houses with embellished advent wreaths, made from evergreen sprigs, wax lights and ribbons.
On each of the four Sundays following up to Christmas, carols are sung, prayers are offered and the candles on the advent wreaths are lit up. During this period, Christmas markets are held in many towns. In Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver and in other cities, the markets are held in the large squares in front of the city halls or other public buildings or in local markets. Almost even in every small town in Canada has its own Christmas market, dealing in Christmas decorations, accessories and other festive things. Throughout Canada, in each town square and household, Christmas trees or firs or pine trees are adorned with multicolored embellishments and decorations, stars shaped out of candy or sweet are placed on the tree to make it look more attractive. Often Christmas stockings are hung by the fireplace so that he would keep the chocolates and candy within them for the children. People even send Christmas cards to their friends and family. Most of the Canadians unpack their gifts on Christmas Eve. Others only open their stocking on Christmas Eve.
Canadian Christmas Food
The main Christmas meal for the Canadians is roast turkey accompanied with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Traditionally favorite Christmas desserts consists of Christmas plum puddings and mincemeat tarts. Christmas crackers and rich Christmas fruit cake are also popular. However, people from different cultural backgrounds have their own sort of favorite foods for Christmas. Often many of the Canadian households also have cookie baking parties in which they bring recipes for different Christmas cookies, and then often they exchange them with the members of their family. The recipes generally include gingerbread, cheese straws and others; and at the end of the party, individual family returns home with variety of different cookies to relish over the duration of Christmas. Where as families of French descent also have a huge feast on Christmas Eve called a Reveillon and it is held in the early hours of Christmas morning after taking part in Christmas Eve Mass.
The traditional meal of Quebec is a stew made from the pigs feet but however many people now have a Tortiere, a meat pie made from venison and pork and beef. On Christmas Eve. in the Southwestern region of Nova Scotia, many families have lobster caught off from the North Atlantic Ocean. During this period of Christmas holidays, Canadians have sweets made of barley candy and chicken bones which are made by local manufacturers. The Ukrainian community in Canada have their traditional twelve meal dishes for Christmas. Many Canadians also spend the Christmas holidays by getting involved in sports like skiing, skating and tobogganing. On midnight of 24th December the churches are filled with people, singing carols and hymns, celebrating Midnight Mass. On the noon of Christmas Day, people held feasts at their places, with their friends and families. Many households even enlist a family friend or neighbor to dress up and distribute gifts to their little ones. On Boxing Day most people go and visit their friends and even have a get together.
Best Place to Spend Christmas in Canada
There are other ways in which Canadians celebrate the festival is Santa Claus Parade which is held in Toronto. It is one of the oldest and largest Santa parades in the world. Children along the route follow Santa and march along with him throughout the streets. It has been taking place for over 100 years and now it has become a huge event with over twenty five animated floats and overall more than two thousand people takes part in the festival and it is broadcasted on TV around the world.
Another festival is “Sinck Tuck”. It was started by the Inuit and now it is celebrated in some provinces of Canada and it consists of dancing and gift exchanging. Murmmering is another popular tradition which mainly takes place in Newfoundland. It is more commonly celebrated in small towns and villages. It is also sometimes called or referred to as Jannying and in this tradition people dress up in costumes and they knock on someone’s door and then they dance and sing and have Christmas cakes or puddings before moving on to the next house. It is a fun Christmas season activity for adults. These mummerring tradition usually happens between December 26th and January 6th.
During this time, on the south shore of Nova Scotia, there is a tradition of Belsnickeling. In this tradition people generallyy dress up in funny Santa costumes and roam from house to house. It is specially popular in West & East Green Harbour. These Belsnicklers in group often bring musical instruments with them and they sing around throughout the streets.This tradition was initially brought to Nova Scotia by the 1751 Germans immigrants who settled near Lunenburg and South shore. In northern Canada there is another tradition called Taffy Pull and this is held in honour of Saint Catherine, the patron saint of single women. This party is similar to Valentine’s Day as it provides an opportunity for single women to meet eligible single men. At Labrador City in Newfoundland, a Christmas Light up Contest is held each year in which people decorate their houses with lights and they often have big ice sculptures in their front gardens to decorate their house. On 6th January, people in the province of Quebec have a celebration called “La Fete du Roi” . In this celebration they bake a cake and place a bean in the middle of it. It is believed that whoever discovers the bean, gets to be the king or queen, according to tradition and the person will have a fortunate year. Thus Canada has myriad aspects to offer to its visitors, but particularly the period of December and January from Christmas to New Year reveals the country’s variegated cultural and traditional aspects in wide range.
Canadian Christmas Decorations