In Canada, Christmas Day is celebrated on 25th December.
The Christmas festivities here are quite similar to the American observance of the occassion.
Pantomiming wearing masks is a popular tradition in Canada and comes from Newfoundland. In places like Labrador and Nova Scotia, local people wear masks and visit houses during the twelve days of Christmas, miming and making rude noises and actions, ringing bells and asking for candy or other treats. The mummers remove their disguise and stop behaving riotously if the hosts guess their identities correctly. They also quiz the children to check whether they have been good in the past year, and if they are satisfied, the kids receive candy as reward.
Christmas decorations start here from several days before 25th December. In Quebec, elaborate nativity scenes are displayed in individual homes as Christmas decorations. Labrador City in Newfoundland organises an annual Light-up Contest at this time of the year. People deck up the exterior of their homes with lights and often create big ice sculptures in their front gardens. Christmas is truly a white one here, with about 12-14 feet of snow covering the ground during this period.
On December 24, Christmas Eve, extended family members get together for a fun-filled celebration. In places such as Labrador City in Newfoundland, many households hold Christmas cookie-baking parties, where every participating family bakes their own kind of cookies and then exchanges them with the other members of their family. A variety of different cookies are to be taken home by each family at the end of the party. A mass service is held at midnight and attended by many. In Canada, tourtiere or pork pie is served to everybody who attends the Midnight Mass. After participating in the Christmas Eve Mass, many Canadian families(especially those of French descent) have a grand dinner that lasts well into the early hours of Christmas morning. The traditional Canadian Christmas dinner is known as 'Reveillon' and includes a delicious dish of roasted turkey with vegetables and sauces. A popular Christmas dish is "Boulettes" (small meatballs). The dessert is often a rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Local candy companies also make special sweets for Christmas, known as Barley Candy and Chicken Bones! These are a great hit and eaten during Christmas, not only by kids but adults too.
In Canada, children hold Santa Claus to be the bringer of their presents. Many of them hang their stockings to be filled by him with gifts and goodies. Many Canadians open their gifts on Christmas Eve, while others choose to unwrap only one gift on this day and open the rest on Christmas Day.
Miss. Rhea Dutta, a resident of Canada, observes that "Quite contrary to the Christmas celebrations they might have shown you in the movies and shows, Canada actually has a starkly different way of celebrating this day! Although there are parties and carnivals being hosted in almost all the clubs and pubs, this festival truly means “family time” to most of the people here. It usually means a wonderful time with one’s kinsfolks, followed by a nice family dinner perhaps. There is almost a ritual of gift exchange involved with it. People wait all year to buy the most special present for their loved ones and also to unwrap that greatly desired Christmas surprise they might be receiving from Santa this year. Children open up their favorite stockings and hang them nicely before going to bed. Christmas also means food and desserts, a lot of them! The smell of freshly baked plum cakes and cookies fill the air.
At this time of the year, people indulge in a lot of social welfare and charitable activities, donating generously to those who are in need so that nobody is deprived of happiness on this auspicious day. Christmas parties for children and adults are often organized to ensure everyone has a good time.
Of course, there is a cute man dressed as Santa Clause waving at you at every store, club or shopping mall you visit and a queue of enthralled kids waiting to shake hands with him. All houses are beautifully embellished with gorgeous lights, Christmas trees and other decorative items that just make the Christmas season so memorable and worthwhile. Here, Christmas is a matter of the heart!
However since Canada is one of the most multicultural nations in the world, different parts of Canada has a different way of celebrating Christmas. People from all over the world reside in this country in perfect harmony and they contribute to the festival in their own unique ways. For instance, Quebec has the “La Fete du Roi” where people bake a cake with a small bean at the center. Whoever gets lucky finds the bean. Labrador City conducts a “lighting contest”. They also have a Taffy Pull in the northern parts where single men can meet single women. Well, the city of Toronto is the biggest eye catcher of the season where they have the Santa Claus parade. It is the greatest event ever which began almost a hundred years back and continues till date. This event is relayed on different channels all over the world."