Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How is Christmas celebrated in Canada?

[Image: 640px-Rideau_Canal%2C_UNESCO_World_Heritage.jpg]

How is Christmas celebrated in Canada?

By Chinami Oka
The Daily Magi
December 20, 2057


In the Canadian provinces where English is the predominant language, Christmas traditions are largely similar to those of the United States, with some lingering influences from the United Kingdom and newer traditions brought by immigrants from other European countries. Mince pies, plum pudding and Christmas cake are traditionally served in English Canada as Christmas dinner desserts, following the traditional meal of roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes and winter vegetables. Christmas table crackers are not uncommon in English-speaking Canada. In some parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Christmas traditions include mummers.

North American influences on Christmas are evident in the hanging of stockings on Christmas Eve, to be filled by Santa Claus. However, Canadian children believe that the home of Santa Claus is located at the North Pole, in Canada, and through Canada Post address thousands of letters to Santa Claus each year, using the postal code designation "HOH OHO", a play on Canada's six digit postal code that includes letters and numbers. Decorated Christmas trees, either fresh cut or artificial, introduced to Canada in 1781 originally by German soldiers stationed in Quebec during the American Revolution, are now common in private homes and commercial spaces throughout most of Canada.

As Canada is a cold, dark country in winter, lights are often put up in public places, and on commercial and residential buildings in November and December. Many communities have celebrations that include light events, such as the Cavalcade of Lights Festival in Toronto, the Montreal Christmas Fireworks or the Bright Nights in Stanley Park, Vancouver. A national program, Christmas Lights Across Canada, illuminates Ottawa, the national capital, and the 13 provincial and territorial capitals.

In the east-central Canadian province of Quebec and other French-speaking areas of North America, Christmas traditions include réveillon, Père Noël ("Father Christmas") and the bûche de Noël (Yule log), among many others. The traditional main dish for réveillon is tourtière, a savoury meat pie, and gifts are opened during réveillon, often following Midnight Mass.

The Royal Christmas Message from George VII, King of Canada is televised nationwide in Canada, the occasion being an observance which unites Canadians with citizens of the other Commonwealth Realms worldwide. The observation of Boxing Day (which coincides with the Christian Feast of St. Stephen) on the day following Christmas Day, December 26, is a tradition practiced in Canada, as it is in the other Commonwealth Realms, although not in the United States. In Canada Boxing Day is a day (or the beginning of a few days) of deeply discounted sale prices at retail stores which attract large numbers of shoppers in search of bargains.

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