How Is Christmas Celebrated in Canada?
Christmas is a time for celebration, spending time with family, and of course, eating lots of food! But how is Christmas celebrated around the world in different countries? In this blog post, we'll take a look at how Canada celebrates Christmas. From festive lights and decorations to traditional foods and activities, there's certainly no shortage of holiday cheer in Canada!
How do the Canadian People Celebrate Christmas Today?
Canada has over 250 ethnicities that make up the population, so as you can probably imagine, this makes for a very diverse Christmas celebration. However, throughout the centuries a significant number of people from the British Isles and France immigrated to Canada, meaning the Christmas traditions in Canada have very much stemmed from these two cultures.
Christmas in Canada is a joyous occasion that's celebrated much like it happens across the rest of the globe. December 25th is the official holiday in Canada, with many Canadians also taking time off on the afternoon of the 24th (Christmas Eve) to start celebrating with family and friends, whilst also taking off Boxing Day, celebrated on the 26th.
Christmas in Canada is often celebrated with families gathering together, exchanging gifts, and enjoying a festive meal. However, there are some unique aspects to Canadian Christmas celebrations. One of the most notable is that Canada is a country of two halves - French and English or East and West. This demographic split affects how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the country.
Parliament building in Ottawa covered in Christmas lights
In general, French Canadians tend to celebrate Christmas more traditionally. This means that religious festivities such as mass and caroling are more common. The focus is also on family gatherings and enjoying traditional French Christmas foods like tourtière (a savory meat pie) and poutine (a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy).
English Canadians, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the fantasy aspects of Christmas. This means that decorating homes and businesses with elaborate lights and displays is more common. Gift-giving and spending time with family are still important, but the overall atmosphere tends to be more festive and less religious.
Canada is also covered in thick layers of snow during the Christmas holiday period as it is in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the cold, snow and ice doesn't deter Canadians from getting outside and going for a ski or an ice skate with friends and family.
Do They Have Santa Parades?
YES! Did you know the Toronto Santa Parade is one of the largest in the world? The Santa Parade is also one of the most popular Christmas celebrations in Canada. It began in 1905 as a small parade of just 12 floats. Today, it is the largest Santa Claus parade in the world, with over 16,000 participants and more than half a million spectators! The parade features marching bands, clowns, floats, and of course, Santa Claus himself. It is held every year on the Sunday before Christmas Day and is televised across the country.
Santa during the Toronto Santa Parade
In addition to the Toronto Santa Parade, there are many other Santa Claus parades held across Canada. These include the Vancouver Santa Parade, the Montreal Santa Parade, and the Halifax Santa Claus Parade. These parades typically feature floats, marching bands, and of course, Santa Claus himself and are spread across the month of December
What about the Indigenous Canadian Intuits?
Indigenous Canadian Intuits have been celebrating a festival known as Sinck Tuck for centuries. Traditionally celebrating the winter solstice, it has taken on a bit of a Christmas feel nowadays. It is held every winter on the shortest day of the year, which falls on December 21st or 22nd. The festival is a time for giving thanks, feasting, and spending time with family and friends. It is also a time to celebrate the return of the sun, as after the shortest day of the year, the days begin to get longer again.
During the Sinck Tuck festival, homes are decorated with greenery and lights. A large feast is prepared and enjoyed by all. Traditional dances and songs are performed, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones. The festival is a joyous occasion that brings people together,
What is The History of Christmas in Canada?
The history of Christmas in Canada goes back to the country's earliest days. The very first Christmas celebrations in Canada were held by French settlers in the 1600s. These early celebrations were quite different from the Christmas festivities we know today. They were more religious in nature and focused on Advent, which is the four-week period leading up to Christmas Day. During Advent, French Canadians would attend mass, sing hymns, and light candles.
“The Return from Midnight Mass”, 1919 painting by J. Edmond Massicotte (BAnQ numérique)
As time went on, Christmas celebrations in Canada became more secular. This change was largely due to the influence of English and American culture. By the 1800s, many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas, such as decorating trees and exchanging gifts, had become popular in Canada.
Today, Christmas is a much-anticipated holiday in Canada. Families gather together, exchange gifts, and enjoy festive meals. Christmas is a time of joy and happiness for Canadians of all backgrounds.
What are Some Christmas Traditions in Canada?
One of the things that makes Canada such a special place is its diversity. The country is made up of people from all over the world, and this diversity is reflected in its Christmas traditions.HELLO
One of the most popular Christmas traditions in Canada is decorating homes and businesses with lights and displays. This tradition began in the early 1900s, when people started using electric lights to decorate their homes for the holidays. Today, many cities across the country hold annual light festivals, where people can come to see the best holiday displays.
One of the most famous Christmas trees in Canada is the Nova Scotia Tree. Every year since 1971, a massive Christmas tree has been sent from Nova Scotia to the city of Boston as a symbol of thanks for the American help during the Halifax Explosion. The Halifax Explosion was a devastating disaster that occurred in 1917 when a ship carrying explosives exploded in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The explosion killed more than 2,000 people and injured thousands more. The city of Boston sent aid to the people of Halifax in the aftermath of the disaster, and the Nova Scotia Tree is a way of saying thank you for that act of kindness.
A Christmas tree gifted from Nova Scotia, on Boston Common.
Another Christmas tradition in Canada is mummering. Mummering is a traditional Newfoundland festival that involves dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door to visit friends and neighbors. Mummers are usually disguised so that their identity is hidden, and they often play pranks on those they visit. At the end of each visit, the mummers reveal their identities and offer a toast to their host. Mummering is thought to date back to ancient pagan times, and it is still practiced in Newfoundland today.
Belsnickeling is another Christmas tradition with roots in paganism. Belsnickeling is a German tradition in which people dress up as the original Christmas gift-bringer, Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a Christian bishop who lived in the fourth century. He was known for his acts of charity, and he is said to have brought gifts to children on December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. Belsnickeling involves dressing up as Saint Nicholas and going door-to-door to visit homes. Like mummers, belsnickelers often play pranks and offer toasts to their host before revealing their identities.
Taffy pulling is a Christmas tradition that is popular in many parts of Canada. Taffy is a type of candy made from sugar, molasses, and butter. Taffy pulling is a process by which taffy is stretched and pulled until it becomes light and fluffy. This process is often done as a group activity, and it is a fun way to spend time with family and friends during the Christmas season.
Christmas is a time of year when people all over the world come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In Canada, Christmas is celebrated with many traditions that are unique to the country. From decorating Christmas trees to pulling taffy, Canadians have their own way of celebrating this festive holiday.
What Is a Traditional Canadian Christmas Dinner?
A traditional Canadian Christmas dinner varies depending on which region of the country you are in. In Quebec in the Eastern French part of the country, for example, a typical Christmas meal might consist of tourtière (a meat pie), poutine (a dish of French fries and cheese curds covered in gravy), and tarte au sucre (a sugar pie). Meanwhile, in the Atlantic provinces (Vancouver, Calgary, Rocky Mountains etc), a traditional Christmas dinner might include ham, baked beans, and molasses cookies. No matter where you are in Canada, though, you can be sure that your Christmas dinner will be delicious!
How to Have a Perfect Canadian Christmas
8:00 am - Wake up and enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea.
9:00 am - Go for a walk or ski through the fresh snow.
10:00 am - Make a Christmas breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs.
11:00 am - Start decorating the Christmas tree with your family or roommates.
12:00 pm - Make a traditional Canadian Christmas lunch of baked salmon, mashed potato, roast brussel sprouts and butter cakes.
1:00 pm - Enjoy a game of hockey or ice skating with friends.
2:00 pm - Go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
3:00 pm - Make some hot chocolate and sit by the fireplace.
4:00 pm - Wrap presents and put them under the tree.
5:00 pm - Enjoy a festive Christmas movie with your family or friends.
7:00 pm Make a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner of ham, baked beans, and molasses cookies
6:00 pm - Go out caroling with your neighbors.
12:00 am - Head to bed and prepare for Santa's arrival!
From festive lights and decorations to traditional foods and activities, there's certainly no shortage of holiday cheer in Canada! So if you're looking for some inspiration for your own Christmas celebrations, jump on a plane and head to Canada. Happy holidays!
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