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Christmas In Canada

Though Christmas celebrations are quite similar in the entire North America, Canada's Christmas celebrations are drawn from a mixed cultural background - French, English, German, Ukrainian, and First Nations. This cultural mix brings about much diversity in the traditions and customs of Canada's Christmas festivities. We highlight certain facts about such Christmas merry-making celebrations in Canada:

  • In some provinces, the Eskimos, with dancing and a gift-exchanging party celebrate a big winter festival, called "Sinck Tuck". It is a festival started by the Inuit.
  • In Canada the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it can be either rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruits. In South-western Nova Scotia, many families eat lobster, a shellfish caught off the shores of Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean, for their Christmas dinner instead of the traditional turkey or ham. In British Columbia Christmas either fresh or smoked salmon may accompany turkey.
  • Many Canadian families also have "cookie-baking" parties. During the family gathering, every family brings a recipe for Christmas cookies, bake them and then exchange them with the members of their family. Each family, at the end of the party goes home with a variety of different cookies to enjoy over the Christmas season.

  • At Christmas, Canadian eats sweets called Barley Candy and Chicken Bones. They are sweets made by local candy companies. Barley Candy is usually on a stick and is shaped like Santa, reindeer, snowmen, a tree and other symbols of Christmas. Chicken Bones a pink candy that tastes like cinnamon.
  • French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, founded the city of Quebec in 1608. In these early days the French Canadians began their Christmas celebration at the end of November, on the first Sunday of Advent. Great preparations were made for the food at the grand Christmas Eve meal, the entire week of parties that would follow, the many visitors that would be received and finally, the New Year's Day Celebrations. All of this activity provided for huge social gatherings. One such famous event was the "taffy pull". It was held on November 25th in honor of the patron saint of single women, Saint Catherine. While taffy was indeed pulled, single women were afforded time to meet the eligible bachelors before the Christmas parties that would soon follow.
  • In Quebec, its also a tradition to display Crèches or nativity scenes in the homes as the Christmas decorations, which also a French tradition. After attending midnight mass, families may be served tourtiere or pork pie. Another favorite food is Boulettes or small meatballs. A Christmas banquet is called a reveillon.
  • At the end of the Christmas season, i.e. on 6th January, people in the province of Quebec have a celebration called "La Fete du Roi". They bake a cake and place a bean in the middle. Whoever is the lucky discoverer of the bean, gets to be the king or queen, according to tradition. This is similar to a tradition in Spain.
  • Mummering is a unique tradition, which takes place in the provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. It's more common in small towns and villages rather than large towns and cities. According to the tradition, the people dress up in colourful costumes and knock on someone's door and say in a disguised voice, "Are there any Mummers in the night?" or "Any mummers 'loud in?", meaning 'are mummers aloud in the house?' Then they sing and dance and have Christmas cake and a cup of something nice and warm before moving on to the next house. In some places, if the host does not guess who the Mummers are, the host needs to join the masked-Mummers in their merry-making. Mummers usually come out between the dates of Dec. 26 and Jan. 06 i.e. the 12 Days of Christmas. But some even come out only before Christmas Day.
  • Also, in Nova Scotia, a country that was settled by Scottish highlanders, songs and carols that were brought from Britain two centuries ago are sung each Christmas morning.
  • Labrador City in Newfoundland holds a Christmas Light-up Contest each year. These creates waves of excitement throughout the city as people adorn the outside of their houses with sparkling colourful lights and often have big ice sculptures in their front gardens! They have no trouble finding enough snow or ice, because Labrador City has about 12-14 Feet of snow every year.
  • In Labrador, turnips are saved from the summer harvest and are given to children, with a lighted candle pushed into a hollowed out hole. This is especially for the children.

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