Some Christmas traditions are quite similar to each other especially in the western countries. Yet, every country has its own special customs some of which are absolutely unique. Canada is not any exception. Along with pretty well-known customs, this country has some untypical celebrations and traditions which will make the experience of celebrating Christmas in this country especially attractive to foreigners.
Note that some of these traditions are more typical for particular areas of Canada and might not be found in other parts of this country.
Janneying also known as Mummering
Mummering is a custom which used be very popular in the regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. In this area, people used to hold the Mummers Parade as well as the Mummers Festival. These celebrations are now banned in many places because of the security risk. Still, if you visit such places as, for example, St. John’s, you will be able to enjoy this Canadian celebration.
The idea of the Mummering celebration is getting disguised up to point that not only your appearance is indistinguishable, but also your voice. While being disguised, people are visiting their relatives and friends. As you can guess, Mummers are doing their best to make it hard for the people who know them to identify them.
Once other people finally understand who was wearing a disguise, they will invite them to have food and drink.
Belsnickeling is still practised by some people living in Nova Scotia. The tradition itself is somewhat similar to Janneying, however, it came to this area with German immigrants. Unfortunately, less and less people know about Belsnickeling.
According to this tradition, people also dress up in order to make it challenging for their relatives and friends to reveal their identity. As you can imagine, the visitors are also enjoying a couple of drinks with the hosts.
Réveillon and La Fête du Roi
Réveillon and La Fête du Roi is a popular tradition in Quebec. In fact, it is a name of a feast which happens at midnight and can last for several hours during the Christmas morning. As you can imagine, there is an entire set of traditional dishes eaten during this time. For instance, one of the most important dishes during this time is Ragoût aux pattes de cochons. This is a special stew which is cooked from pigs’ feet. Nowadays, Tortiere is also very widespread among the families celebrating Christmas with Réveillon and La Fête du Roi.
In this area of the country, the Christmas season lasts till the 6th of January. On this day, which is called La Fête du Roi, there is one more celebration held. For instance, one of the traditions for La Fête du Roi is sharing a cake with your relatives and friends. The cake has a bin inside it and the one who gets a slice with this bin should be treated like a queen or a king.
Taffy Pull is another tradition of French Canadians which started in the 19th century. This is a very interesting event which might be considered as a form of speed dating as it created great opportunities for unmarried women and men to meet each other and get acquainted.
The celebration is held on November 25th which is regarded to be the day of St. Catherine. St. Catherine is believed to be a patron saint of unmarried women as well as students. Actually, on this day taffy is cooked by all of the families who would like to take part in the celebration. It is shared with everyone who would like to eat it which makes it possible for single people to make new acquaintances.
Chicken Bones or New Brunswick
Chicken Bone sis a name for a special candy of a strong cinnamon flavour which has a filling of bittersweet chocolate. It is also very beautiful with its traditional bright pink colour and shiny surface. Chicken Bone has been a traditional Christmas treat since 1885. The area of Canada in which it is particularly popular is the East Coast.
Canadian Christmas events
Just like any other country, Canada has its own popular Christmas events.
Santa Claus Parades are also pretty popular in Canada. They are usually held in November. These parades usually including many people and decorative floats. The last one is earmarked for Santa himself who is sitting right on his sleigh.
Some of these Santa parades are particularly important events for the culture of the country. Thus. the Santa Claus parade held in Toronto is the longest parade for children. It started its history in 1905. Another particularly massive parade is held in Winnipeg. This parade of Santa Claus was established in 1909 and it is currently the longest free event.
Canadians also love light festivals. Some of the most important held during the Christmas are Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, the Airdrie Festival of Lights, Christmas Lights across Canada, Vancouver Festival of Lights at the Van Dusen Botanical Garden and Toronto Cavalcade of Lights.