Christmas is celebrated on a mammoth scale and is always received with grandeur and anticipation. As one of the largest festivals in the world, Christmas is unique in its own manner, with influences and cultural variations from different parts of the world. Although the essence of the festival remains the same, personal touches and cultural diversities add to the beauty of this 'fete'. Canada is a beautiful country with a wide assortment of cultures, traditions and festivals. As it was initially a colony of France, this part of North America is predominantly French in culture with an American twist and aboriginal influences. Quebec, Montreal and Toronto have some of the largest French populations in the entire country. Like most countries, Christmas is celebrated on 25th December and families hunker down at home, feast together, attend church and open presents together. As it is considered a national holiday, pretty much all the shops and offices remain closed. On Christmas Eve, families go shopping, watch Santa Claus parades, attend light festivals and feast on a delicious banquet to rejoice the birth of Jesus Christ. For more information about Christmas celebrations in Canada, scroll further.
Customs, Traditions And Celebrations
Nova Scotia Trees
Nova Scotia is a small province in Canada, located towards the East. This province is world-famous for its pine and fir Christmas trees and it is said, that each household in Canada owns a pine or a fir Christmas tree brought in from Nova Scotia for the festival. Some of the trees are even exported to the US and Europe. A common tradition in Boston, where people import fir/pine trees from Nova Scotia is still followed today. These trees are considered to be auspicious and set the tone for the rest of the holiday season in Canada.
In various parts of Canada such as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Toronto, a small Christmas tradition, known as 'Mummering' takes place. Although this tradition is disappearing into obscurity now, there are small towns and villages who still adhere to this activity. People dress up in costumes and knock on the doors of houses around the neighborhood. They disguise their voice and ask 'Are there any Mummers in the night?' which means, 'are mummers allowed into the house?'
Once they are allowed in, the mummers sing, dance and indulge in merrymaking. They binge on Christmas cakes, muffins and hot chocolate before leaving for another house. Mummering was a tradition born for amusement on Christmas Eve, and was strictly restricted to adults. This tradition is now banned in most parts of Canada, because adults used this activity to 'beg' and even indulged in adultery with strangers, using Mummering as an excuse.
The 'Taffy Pull'
In Northern Canada, some people plan the 'Taffy Pull' during Christmas. This is held in the honor of Saint Catherine, patron Saint of all the single women. In this Christmas ritual, single women get to meet and spend time with single men in a single place during Christmas.
Santa Claus And Sinck Tuck
Just like the world has agreed to Santa Claus being the universal gift-bringer, children in Canada too, believe in Santa Claus, although according to Canadian legends, Santa Claus came from Canada and not from Finland. Santa Claus comes on his sleigh pulled by reindeers and leaves gifts for children at night while they are asleep. He is portrayed as a man with a large build, white beard and a huge belly. He is bedecked in red and white attire and carries a sack full of gifts for children. Like the Santa Claus in the US, the Santa Claus in Canada also makes a list of good and naughty children.
In many provinces of Canada, the ritual of 'Sinck Tuck' is also followed. This is a customary practice, where families get together, dance and open each other's gifts after Mass at church.
'La Fete Du Roi'
At the end of the Christmas season, somewhere around the 6th of January, the people of Quebec celebrate 'La Fete du Roi', which is essentially French in nature. This is traditional French, Christmas custom, where a cake is baked and placed in the center of the table with a bean. Whichever member of the family or the guest is successful in locating the bean gets to play the part of King or Queen for a day. This is also followed in parts of Spain.
In the English provinces of Canada, the food is very similar to that of the United Kingdom. Traditional foods include turkey with stuffing, mashed potato, cranberry sauce and chocolate dessert. Eggnog, a milk-based drink, is very famous during the holiday season in Canada. Other items on the Christmas menu include tarts, gravy, salads, shortbread, vegetables, pudding and baked dishes.
Christmas in Canada is a grand affair. Every year, people go out on Christmas Eve, shop with family and indulge in a scrumptious feast. Christmas is usually spent at home, relaxing with good food, going to church and catching up with dear ones. Post-Christmas, people usually keep up the festivities by attending or participating Boxing Day events. Although Christmas in Canada may look similar to that of the US, some of the customs and the traditions are unique to Canadian culture.
Similar to the western counterparts, Christmas in Canada is a grand affair. Read on for more information on the customs, traditions and customs of this diverse country.