During Monday’s podcast Natalie and I briefly touched on Canada and wondered about any unique Christmas traditions that might be from our neighbors to the North. Of course I immediately went home and got to sleuthing online. What I found is that the Christmas traditions of Canada are very similar to those in the US. Santa? Check. Decorated trees & homes? Check. Sending of cards & giving of gifts? Yup. Family celebration and church attendance? Done deal. There were a few curious differences as well. Canada has many ethnic groups including the native Inuit. The Inuit celebrate Christmas including a festival named Sinck Tuck. The festival is centered on a huge dance party and exchanging of gifts. Ethnic influences come into play for some regional differences at Christmas throughout the large nation. In Nova Scotia the traditions of the British Isles plays heavy, including the huge annual Mummers Parades. In Quebec, Vive Le France! The French influence is definitely seen in the post midnight mass meal. The center piece is a pork pie, Le Tourtiere (maybe Natalie and I can cook this sometime!). Other regional differences don’t necessarily come from ethnic roots. On the Labrador coast children are given unique candles at Christmas. These candles are created using stored turnips from the summer harvest. In the far North they hold taffy pulls in honor of St. Catherine, the patron saint of single women. This really is a chance for single women to meet single men- a Christmas singles dance!
Nova Scotia is home to some of the largest pine forests in the nation and it’s all about the trees there. Each year they find the biggest and the best tree to send to Boston to recognize the US city’s assistance after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Over 2,000 people were killed when the SS Mont Blanc loaded with explosives for WWI collided with another ship and exploded. The devastation of the explosion, the damage of the smoke, and the huge wave of water slamming into the city caused widespread destruction. The citizens of Boston and the Red Cross provided much-needed aid and help to the people of Halifax. In 1918 they sent a tree to Boston to thank them. This tradition continues to this day and the gifted tree is the centerpiece of Boston Common. The lighting of the tree kicks off the holiday season in Boston. The few traditions I have discovered so far are quite interesting and I am eager to do some more research- expect some more Canada from me soon:)