It’s no secret that we can find a wide assortment of customs that are totally strange to other cultures in Canada. In this article, we’ll explain the quirkiest yet most important festivals and traditions of this bilingual country (not to forget and the eating and social habits).
Throughout the year, many traditional festivals are celebrated that attract both the national and international public. In February, the Winter Carnival occurs, in which ice sculptures are made, and parades are held. The one in Quebec stands out, where an ice castle is built-in, which is Bonhomme, a well-known snowman. In the same month, the Winterlude, a festival that celebrates winter, occurs on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa. Also, in February, we find the Grape and Wine Fair in Niagara. Between the end of June and the beginning of July, the Montreal Jazz Festival is organized, considered the most important world. It attracts around two million people.
July 1st is Canada’s National Day, where Canada’s independence is celebrated with parades, fireworks and entertainment. The Calgary Stampede is celebrated during this month, honouring the culture of the Old West. The second Monday in October is also Thanksgiving Day. During the day, families get together and prepare to eat turkey with red cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and apple pie.
#2. Social Customs
Due to their immigration policy, Canadians are open to new people and are interested in other cultures. It is even familiar for them to greet and smile at strangers. When it comes to greeting, they shake hands and always maintain a certain physical distance. They address the other person by his last name until he invites him to call him by his first name. In establishments, you always say hello, and thank you.
If you’re invited to lunch or dinner, it is important to be punctual and bring a gift, such as a bottle of wine or some flowers. Also, you must remove your shoes at the entrance. Depending on each region, there are different cultural habits. For example, in Quebec, being an area of French origin, they tend to be more reserved and formal, and to say hello, they give two kisses.
As for the family, for Canadians, it is quite important. They like to spend time together and eat with their children. All family models are respected: single parents, with parents of the same sex, etc. Also, both men and women often work outside the home. However, there is a wage gap between both sexes, and women spend more time doing housework and taking care of children.
#3. Feeding Habits
Canadians generally eat three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner is considered the most important meal and is eaten around five o’clock in the afternoon, early compared to other countries. There are differences between regions: American, English, and French cuisines influence Canadian cuisine with respect to culinary customs. Typical dishes include fresh seafood, roast beef and game meat. Sweets not to be missed are maple syrup, Nanaimo bar (made with waffles) and doughnuts.
Alcoholic beverages are only available in specialty stores. However, typical Canadian drinks are ice wine (characterized by its sweetness), beer and Canadian whiskey. If you decide to try Canadian food in a restaurant, don’t forget to leave a 10-15% tip when paying. Not doing so is considered rude.
Traditionally, Canadians still get married in church. At the end of the ceremony, guests throw rice or wheat to the bride and groom, symbolizing fertility. The bride’s dress is white. She usually wears her face covered by a veil. Also, it is typical that he wears something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
It is common to form a “bride’s wheel” at the banquet: guests form two lines and pay a dollar or more to dance with one of the newlyweds. In the French region of Canada, they have their own customs. The most important is the “sock dance”: the unmarried brothers of the bride and groom wear funny socks and dance while the guests throw money. Another French origin tradition is to meet at the bride’s house and then travel by caravan to the wedding. The cars honk their horns to let people know that a couple is getting married.
Sport is another crucial aspect of Canadian culture and is very popular with all ages. The national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse, which is played in the summer. Canadians learn to play field hockey at an early age, as competitions are held in school and university. The National Hockey League (NHL) attracts millions of viewers every year. Another outstanding sport is basketball. Although it is not played as much, it is followed by a large part of the population, especially the NBA competitions (National Basketball Association).
Want to Move to Canada?
Want to experience these traditions and celebrations? It’s not surprising why many people considering migration as their primary option are thinking about Canada. The advantages of settling in Canada are apparent: it is a great country with beautiful landscapes, developed culture, and many opportunities. Once you are ready to leave, call RNR-CANADINE MIGRATION CONSULTATION, and they will help you pack all your belongings, whether you want to send a few boxes or the contents of your home. Let’s start packing!