Christmas in Canada
There are many ethnicities represented among Canadians and their Christmas traditions are as diverse as their histories. Along with the native Canadians you will also find people of French, German, English, Irish and Scottish descent.
As a general rule, Canadian children believe in Santa Claus. Canadians are especially proud to say that their country is the home of Santa Claus, and in some corners of Canada, Christmas is celebrated 365 days a year. They even have towns named for Christmas:
- Reindeer Station (Northwest Territories)
- Christmas Island (Nova Scotia)
- Sled Lake (Saskatchewan)
- Holly (Ontario)
- Noel (Nova Scotia)
- Turkey Point (Ontario)
- Snowflake (Manitoba)
Each year Canadian volunteers reportedly give 200,000 hours of time helping Santa answer letters from children all over the world!
Canadian Christmas Traditions
The Eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia is famous the world over for its fir and pine Christmas Trees. One Canadian tradition is to send the biggest, best fir tree (grown in Nova Scotia) to Boston, USA, as an annual thank you in remembrance of Boston’s assistance to Canada during the Halifax Explosion. Bostonians always appreciate the Nova Scotian Christmas tree which they place in the city and light during a special ceremony to kick off the beginning of the Christmas season.
Also in Nova Scotia, during the twelve days of Christmas, small groups of belsnicklers, or masked mummers, appear in neighborhoods, ringing bells, making noise, and seeking candy or other treats. The people they call on may try to guess who the mummers are and if they guess right the mummer removes his or her disguise and stops making rude noises and actions. Mummers may also ask children about their behavior, and if they say they have been good they may reward them with candy.
In Quebec they display Crèches (nativity scenes) in their homes as the Christmas decorations.
Sinck Tuck, is a holiday tradition celebrated by the Eskimos, with dancing and a present-giving party.
In Labrador, turnips are saved from the summer harvest and are given to children, with a lighted candle pushed into a hollowed out hole.
Christmas Foods in Canada
- Quebec – a traditional stew called ragoût aux pattes de cochons made from pigs legs, pork pie, or Boulettes (small meatballs)
- Southwestern Nova Scotia – lobster, a shellfish caught off the shores of Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean
- Traditional turkey or ham
- Barley Candy – a sweet, 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. You melt them in your mouth and once melted, they reveal a creamy milk chocolate center
- Taffy – soft chewy candy
What else can you tell us about Canada’s Christmas foods or traditions?
- Map of Canada to print
- Canadian flag and map to color
- Taffy candy recipe
- About the Halifax Explosion
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