Share on Facebook

7 Unique Canadian Holiday Traditions

From Réveillon to "mummering," here are some of the unique ways Canadians celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

1 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - French feastIllustration: Jeff Kulak

A French Feast

Réveillon is a traditional feast that starts after church service on Christmas Eve and lasts until the wee hours of Christmas morning. First celebrated in 19th-century France, the Canadian menu includes tourtière, ragoût de pattes de cochon—pigs’ feet stew—and bûche de Nöel.

Check out more traditional Canadian dishes—and the best places to find them.

2 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - mummeringIllustration: Jeff Kulak


Since 1819, Newfoundlanders have participated in mummering, dressing up in costumes and masks, knocking on their neighbours’ doors and disguising their voices. Once inside, mummers—also sometimes called jennies—dance and sing while their hosts try to guess who they are.

Read the heartwarming story of how carolling brought this small Canadian town together.

3 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - Jamaican cuisineIllustration: Jeff Kulak

Jamaican Cuisine

“Jamaican Christmases in Canada are relatively the same—it’s just the food that’s different. Instead of turkey and ham, we have curry goat, curry chicken, rice and peas and callaloo.” —Rapper Kardinal Offishall, Huffington Post (December 24, 2018)

Find out how latkes bring this Canadian family together.

4 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - Christmas treeIllustration: Jeff Kulak

Tree Gift

After the devastating Halifax Explosion in 1917, the city of Boston sent medical personnel and supplies to aid in the recovery. The following year, Halifax sent Boston a Christmas tree—and has done so annually ever since.

Here’s what the holidays mean for this Indigenous community.

5 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - funny ornamentsIllustration: Jeff Kulak

Crèche Surprises

“I was always adding my own toys to the mix. There was a giraffe fawning over the baby Jesus, and Papa Smurf stood with the three kings… My dad would notice them and yell for me to get them out.” —Author Heather O’Neill on her family’s crèche, Huffington Post (December 24, 2018)

Learn about one family’s funny Christmas stocking tradition.

6 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - smorkageIllustration: Jeff Kulak


“A Danish butter cake called smorkage. It’s that heavenly combination of pastry and almond paste. Christmas isn’t Christmas without it.” —Author Esi Edugyan on her favourite holiday treat, Huffington Post (December 24, 2018)

Don’t miss these funny (and true!) holiday stories shared by our readers.

7 / 7
Canadian holiday traditions - kwanzaaIllustration: Jeff Kulak

Kwanzaa Week

In 2018, Toronto dedicated the week between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 as Kwanzaa week, the first such proclamation for the holiday—a time when the African diaspora celebrates family, community and culture—in Canadian history.

Next, find out how to celebrate the holidays at the home this year.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada