Canada has a large range of cultural backgrounds that bring various traditional components to the Christmas season. French, English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Aboriginal influences add to the seasonal festivities.
Eastern Canada Christmas
Eastern Canada, province of Nova Scotia is world known for the fir and pine trees, so most families have these species of trees for their Christmas celebration. It is a Canadian tradition to send the biggest, best fir tree that is grown in Nova Scotia to Boston, in the United States. Because of the assistance given during the Halifax Explosion, this tradition began. Bostonians always appreciate the tree. The fir is placed in the city and lit during a ceremony to begin the Christmas season.
Mummering for Christmas
Provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, more commonly in smaller towns and villages, the mummering tradition takes place. Dressed in costumes, the residents knock on doors and in a disguised voice, ask, “Are there any mummers in the night?” or “any mummers ‘lowed in?” The people in the home serve Christmas cake and a cup of tea or hot chocolate before the group moves on to the next home.
If the host does not guess who the mummers are, the host must join the group, going on to the next group of houses. Mummering is a fun activity for the adults. Mummers usually come out between the dates of Dec. 26 and January 6, covering the twelve days of Christmas. Although the tradition is banned in some areas, as it has become an excuse for begging.
Christmas Taffy Pulls
Some residents of Canada host a taffy pull. This is held in honor of Saint Catherine, the patron saint of single women. This party gives the single females a chance to meet eligible single men.
Many Canadians open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Others only go through their stockings on this night, postponing gift opening on Christmas day. Some choose to open only one gift on Christmas Eve, and the rest in the morning.
Children also believe in Santa. Canadians are especially proud to say their country is the home of Santa, although the people in Finland would probably disagree.
Christmas Festival Called Sinck Tuck
A festival started by the Inuit, call Sinck Tuck, is celebrated in some provinces of Canada. The celebration consists of dancing and gift exchanges.
In Labrador City in Newfoundland, a Christmas light contest is held each year. Ice sculptures and house lit in style stand out upon the yearly twelve to fourteen feet of snow.
Cookie baking parties are also common with some Canadians. A recipe for Christmas cookies is brought to these parties. The cookies are baked and then exchanged with other members of their family. Each family, at the end of the party goes home with a large variety of cookies to enjoy over the season.
Families of French descent have a feast on Christmas Eve that lasts well into the early hours of Christmas morning, after taking part in Christmas Eve Mass.
Christmas Celebration – La Fete du Roi
A celebration called “La Fete du Roi” is held in the province of Quebec at the end of every Christmas season. On January 6, this festival includes a cake baked with a bean in the middle and whoever finds the bean, gets to be the king or queen for the year.
In the Southwestern section of Nova Scotia, many families dine on lobster for Christmas dinner. These lobsters are caught off the shores of Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Barley Candy and Chicken Bones for Christmas
A Christmas treat called Barley candy makes an appearance at the normal Christmas dinner. Barley candy is on a stick and is shaped like Santa, reindeer, snowmen, a tree, or other symbols of Christmas.
A cinnamon candy that melts in your mouth, revealing a creamy milk chocolate center is found on the menu too. This candy, or chicken bones as it is known, is a treat that is made by local candy companies.