Let’s discover the Christmas traditions of Canadians, Greeks and Armenians; Manoir Gouin discovers these 3 cultures characteristic of the retirement home.
The festive season is not just a religious occasion, it’s also a time for families to get together and have a good time, thanks to traditions that have stood the test of time. Getting together with your family and sharing a good time over a delicious meal – that’s what Christmas is all about. These traditions around the same Christmas holiday vary from continent to continent, and even from country to country.
Here are three interesting cultures and their Christmas traditions.
Christmas in Canada
Canadians celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, and so gather on December 25 for a feast-like meal. From the beginning of December, families decorate their homes with a tree chosen by the children in the forest and proudly brought home. Coloured baubles, lights, garlands, stars and other small objects are hung on its branches with the idea of making it as beautiful as possible so that Santa Claus will be happy and place the presents at its foot once the clock strikes midnight! To thank him, the children bake cookies and serve them with a glass of milk: these are intended to cheer up Santa Claus between two houses he visits, as his tour is a long one!
In terms of gastronomy, the meal is traditionally composed of turkey, meat pie, cranberry sauce and, of course, the inevitable Yule log. For the most fervent believers, Christmas mass is a moment not to be missed, because it’s so moving.
Christmas in Greece
Christmas traditions are different for the Greeks, who consider it first and foremost a religious celebration. On New Year’s Eve, early in the morning, everyone gathers in Church to ask God’s forgiveness for any sins committed during the year that may have offended Him. Then the Greeks follow up with a traditionally hearty Christmas Eve meal featuring lemon soup, roast pork, christopsomo (literally “Christ’s bread”) and Christmas cakes called Melomakarona and Kourabiedes with cinnamon and walnuts.
For some Greeks, Western traditions are gradually taking their place, and this is how you can sometimes find a turkey on the Christmas table. Similarly, it’s becoming less and less rare to find a Christmas tree adorned with baubles and garlands, whereas Greek families traditionally decorate a model ship!
Christmas with the Armenians
Unlike their Greek and Canadian friends, Armenians don’t celebrate Christmas on December 25, but on January 6, the date originally recognized for the birth of Jesus Christ and on which Westerners celebrate Epiphany. Armenians celebrate Christmas and Epiphany at the same time. This is the main difference with Catholic Christmas traditions, as Armenians also start their celebrations with Masses and follow them with a hearty family meal.
On their tables are fish, rice, lavash (traditional Armenian bread), wine, several varieties of cakes and dried fruit. Everywhere, in retirement homes, families get together and enjoy these unforgettable moments.