Holiday Traditions in Canada
If you find yourself away from home this holiday season, you might be surprised to learn that Canada is considered a multi-cultural country that is steeped in a wide range of holiday traditions from cultures all over the world. Many of the traditions are blended together to create our very own unique Canadian holidays.
French Canadians put up and decorate Christmas trees and most include a nativity scene next to the tree or underneath it. On Christmas Eve, they attend Midnight mass and afterwards share in a huge holiday meal with friends and family. Gifts are not exchanged on Christmas Day, but rather on New Year’s Day.
German Canadians have many traditions they originally created that have been adopted by other cultures. Did you know that Christmas Trees were a tradition started by the Germans? But in German households, it’s called the “Tanenbaum.” You will also find Advent calendars, gingerbread houses and cookies, and Christmas carols being sung as part of German Christmas traditions here in Canada.
Each of our Native cultures also have their own unique holiday traditions. Many of these were originally part of their winter celebrations and feasts long before Europeans arrived to settle Canada. These traditions can include dancing, drumming, singing, eating huge feasts, exchanging gifts, and playing games.
For instance, the Inuit hold a huge feast with their friends and family. The Cree on the other hand, have a tradition where the children will go door-to-door and visit their relatives and close friends to collect their holiday gifts.
Indian Canadians celebrate Diwali as their huge holiday celebration, which is normally in October. There are festivals, colourful displays and big feasts featuring a wide array of foods. Families create Rangoli art using coloured sand on the floors in their homes during the celebration.
Indian Canadians will also celebrate Christmas, as India has a considerable Christian population, too. You will find bright and colourful decorations on Christmas trees that are often hand-made by the family.
On Christmas Eve some families have a huge dinner, while in others their main feast is a Christmas Day lunch, which both include Indian inspired holiday meals, curries, and sweets. On Christmas Day, children and adults visit their neighbours and friends to bring them food and treats as gifts.
Jewish Canadian don’t celebrate Christmas but rather Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights which lasts for eight days. There are specific customs based on each night of the celebration, which could include music, eating foods baked or fried in olive oil, playing with Dreidels, and giving the children Hanukkah gelt, which can include actual money or chocolate coins. Two popular foods eaten during Hanukkah are latkes (potato pancakes) and pontshkes (jelly-filled donuts).
As you can see, as you celebrate the holidays this year in Canada, there are indeed many traditions for you to enjoy, including your own! To register for, or help prepare you for your upcoming IELTS exam, please feel free to explore our website further or contact your nearest IELTS Test Centre today!