Tradiations

Traditions

European roots, geographical closeness to the USA, and constant infusion of immigrants make Canada a unique nation in many ways. There is a heady mix of languages, cultures, and lifestyles here that live in perfect harmony and flourish as a whole.

In a unique country like Canada, it would stand to reason that its traditions are unique too. These are not very flashy, unlike in some parts of the world. However, these are quite diverse keeping in mind the considerable eclectic immigrant heritage Canada has been blessed with.
Let’s take a look at some of its traditions.

Calgary Stampede

This annual event happens in Calgary, Alberta, in July. Called ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’, this extravaganza aims at preserving and celebrating western community spirit and culture. It comprises rodeo events, exhibitions, competitions, and carnival rides.

French Feast

A traditional French feast called Réveillon is enjoyed by many Canadians on Christmas. It starts after church service on Christmas Eve and ends in the early hours of Christmas morning. Various delightful dishes like tourtière and ragoût de pattes de cochon are on the menu.

Kwanzaa Week

Not all traditions have to be old. Some can be new, paving the way for it to take roots and gradually become a part of history. The Kwanzaa Week, between December 26 and January 1, was dedicated in 2018 to a celebration of family, culture and community among the African diaspora.

Thanksgiving

While this is not a unique one, Canada’s Thanksgiving is a bit different from how it’s celebrated elsewhere. Here, it is always celebrated on the second Monday of October. This wasn’t so before and in earlier times it was celebrated on different days. However, in 1957, the Canadian Parliament said it should be observed on the second Monday in October and, since then, that has been the norm.
Canadian Thanksgiving is a relaxed affair with no parades or floats. You should not despair though – there are commonalities with their US counterparts, like turkey and pumpkin pie!

New Year’s Levee

The diehard traditionalists will rejoice to know that Canada is the only country that participated in the age-old European tradition of New Year’s Levee. The start of a new year is marked by each Canadian province’s lieutenant governor and governor general. All citizens are allowed to show their respects. Officials in the units and headquarters of Canadian forces meet and greet guests to usher in the New Year warmly.

Mummering

This quaint tradition has been around since 1819. It is also a really fun one. Residents of Newfoundland dress up in costumes and masks and visit their neighbors. There, these ‘mummers’ or ‘jennies’ speak in a disguised voice, sing, and dance while the hosts make guesses about who they are.

May 2-4

Victoria Day or May-Two-Four is celebrated on the last Monday before May 25th of every year. This day is a public holiday in Canada and is considered the start of the summer season. Most Canadians enjoy it by opening up their cottage country homes and having cold drinks at a waterfront.

Beaver Tails

This is a delicious Canadian tradition of eating huge, deep-fried sweet pastries. Topped with myriad garnishes like sugar and cinnamon, maple cream, chocolate spread, etc., this mouth-watering snack, called Beaver Tail, is best enjoyed after an evening of skating along the Rideau Canal.

Halloween

You may wonder what’s so special about Halloween as it is a commonly celebrated festival all around the world. Well, it is a bit of a big deal in Canada and it is a billion-dollar industry here!
The residents of Vancouver are allowed by law to set off fireworks in their backyard, albeit after they get a permit to do so. This makes this city a loud one on Halloween night!
While going trick or treating, visitors asked for candy and spare change. This change made its way to supporting needy children around the world and UNICEF’s orange-colored coin collection boxes were a big part of Canada’s Halloween history. Even now, almost 3 million dollars on average are donated by Canadians every Halloween to UNICEF.

Bloody Caesar

With eating traditions making it to the list, how can a drinking one be left behind?
The Canadian Caesar is a staple at almost every single summer party. In terms of appearance, it looks quite like a Bloody Mary – however, that is not so. Its looks are deceptive! Instead of the cocktail being mixed with tomato juice as the Americans do, the Canadians bring in a twist by using ‘Clamato’ juice – an amalgamation of tomato and clam juices.

St Jean Baptiste Day

Francophone culture is evident almost everywhere in Canada and an immensely popular holiday, St Jean Baptiste Day, is the pride of the traditions associated with it. Known as la Fête Nationale du Québec, it is held on June 24 every year.

In all Canadian French provinces like Montreal and Quebec City, people rejoice with bonfires, barbeques, parades, and fireworks.

All of these are by no means all the exciting traditions of this large country. There are some other ones like poutine, tire d’érable, apple picking, and more.

Those who like to revere and exult in the celebration of different ethnic traditions will love this beautiful country that is so welcoming of new people and their heritages. Canada is a true melting pot of cultures and each of its traditions reflects its wholehearted acceptance and warmth.

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