Author: Nolan Clack, Guest Blogger.
From the East to the West, Canada comes together for large amounts of evening celebrations, festivities, and fireworks. A country that embraces diversity and a large mix of cultures and traditions, New Year in Canada is a winter wonderland that is filled with activities that will not want to be missed!
Unlike the Vietnamese Tết holiday, which is typically held during the months of January and February in Vietnam. Canada celebrates New Year on December 31. However, this goes without saying that the Vietnamese Tết holiday is still widely celebrated throughout Canada due to the large number of Vietnamese communities living there.
As Canadian New Years and Vietnamese Tết approaches, let’s jump into what both Canadians and Vietnamese do in Canada during both Lunar New Years’!
As you might already know, during the winter months Canada has blankets of snow that cover the country. When the snow begins to fall, Canadians flock outside to take in and appreciate what the winter months have to offer.
You can say Canadians definitely love their winters! From outdoor ice skating on the 7.8 km Rideau Canal in the capital of Canada, to snow-shoeing up a mountain with snow as high as your waist, Canadians make the most of the snowy months and ensure to enjoy every minute of it! A little snow, or should we say a large amount of snow, never gets in the way to celebrating Canadian New Year.
No matter where you are in Canada during New Year, there is an abundance of activities to experience that will provide memories of a lifetime.
If you love large crowds, live music, and entertainment, Toronto hosts the biggest New Years celebration throughout Canada. New Year in Toronto is Canada’s equivalent to Times Square ball drop in New York City. Toronto’s Light & Sound New Years Celebration hosts millions of people to celebrate the New Year as the largest outdoor New Years’ event Canada has to offer.
If large gatherings and parties are not of interest – Canadian outdoors away from the cities are also a fantastic option to celebrate the New Year like no other. With a short trip away, New Year in Canada’s northern provinces can be enjoyed with a group of friends or family by setting up a tent, bringing some sleeping bags, and watching the northern lights around a nice warm and toasty fire while going into the New Year.
The following morning wake up to the fresh, crisp outdoor air to ice skate across frozen lakes or go cross-country skiing – all while absorbing the magical snow-covered landscapes Canada has to offer. Some of the best cities to experience the Northern Lights during Canadian News Years are Yellowknife, Whitehorse, or Muncho Lake Provincial Park.
A truly charming and historical city, Québec City offers a culturally rich Canadian French New Years experience. Walking down Québec’s old city cobblestoned streets, while snow gently falls amongst the historic buildings covered in Christmas lights, as carolers sing Christmas carols through the night. Finish off your Canadian New Year by taking a horse sleigh ride as one of many unforgettable winter activities to enjoy in Québec City.
After counting down into the New Year, Canada has a yearly tradition every January 1st, where thousands of people plunge into the freezing waters to celebrate the arrival of Canada’s New Year. This unusual annual event has thousands of participants across the country attend to help raise money for charitable Canadian organizations. Another great example of how Canadians do not get defeated by winter – rather embrace the Canadian New Year by giving back to communities by swimming like a polar bear.
As Canadians living in Vietnam, each Tết Lunar New Year we look forward to experiencing the wonderful cultural heritage of Vietnam. The beautiful sounds, colors, and happiness that fills the air is a special time of year for us. We love emerging ourselves in Vietnamese culture, music, and food that have all been passed down over centuries.
With Tet being the most significant festival in the country, Vietnamese communities abroad still keep their tradition no matter how far they are from their family. In Canada, Vietnamese communities every year share Vietnamese Tết holiday traditions throughout major cities. Regardless of Canada’s extremely cold winter during the Tet holiday, people still find their own way to keep the exciting, warm, and spiritual atmosphere within the family and friends.
For Families, Tet Lunar celebration can vary depending on the size of families. Smaller families tend to keep things a bit more simple. For example, Vietnamese gather together and dine at Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants. Bigger families and friends circle would take turns and invite each other over to cook or organize a potluck.
Before eating, people would place a few dishes in front of the Gods & Goddess of Kitchen as the traditional offerings to regale the gods living at their house all over the years on the last month in the lunar calendar. Many families during Lunar New Year in Canada would make homemade Chung cakes to celebrate and to gift each other.
To bring in the magical spirits, Vietnamese communities in Canada decorate their homes with plenty of bright colorful red, yellow, pink, and white flowers or whatever is available in the flower shop in Canada during the winter months. Often for more traditional families, families go to the Buddhist churches, where they can come in and do blessings.
As part of Vietnam’s Canada Lunar New Year celebrations, over 180 nationalities residing in Canada have the opportunity to emerge themselves in Vietnamese culture.
Tết celebrations are celebrated in the major cities of Ottawa, the capital of Canada, Montréal, Vancouver, and Toronto. The largest Tết celebration in Canada is held in Toronto, for the Tết Toronto Festival that is hosted by Toronto Vietnamese Association. The event offers traditional Vietnamese dishes, fashion, internationally renowned Vietnamese entertainers, and community groups for visitors to experience Vietnamese culture in the most multicultural city in all of North America. Additionally, Vietnamese embassies in Canada host yearly events to bring the community together so that newcomers could make connections and exchanges with the ones who have been living in Canada for quite some time.
For the younger generation, there is SVC community (Sinh Vien Vietnam Canada), specifically for exchange Vietnamese students living by themself in Canada. SVC is a great platform for everyone to connect and be able to make new friends and support each other to adapt to the living lifestyle in Canada- especially during Vietnamese Canadian New Year! The community also brings in many young talented volunteers to create music performances, food, and other indoor events at venues to raise funds to help Vietnamese families that are facing financial difficulty
Since 1997, every New Year in Canada, Canada’s post office has issued special postage stamps featuring the astrological sign of that year, which can be used to send both domestic and international mail. Although, many nationalities in Canada love to collect these stamps as a form of souvenir.
As it can be seen, Lunar New Year in Canada has a variety of ways to celebrate. Given Canada’s many multicultural influences, Canada is a wonderful place for visitors, international students, and those looking to immigrate to Canada to start a new life.
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