Traditions|The Canada Guide

By the requirements of some parts of the world, Canada is not a country with a lot of particularly flashy folk traditions– which isn’t to say none exist. In general, it’s the aging process, and the various “crucial dates” that occur as a Canadian moves from teenage years to adulthood that tend to be the most renowned and ritualized minutes in mainstream Canadian culture, with each crucial date house to its own abundant variety of customizeds.

Canadian traditions likewise tend to be closely connected to the country’s numerous holidays, which are talked about in more information because chapter. It should similarly be noted that considering that Canada is a country of significant variety born from the eclectic immigrant heritage of its people, the traditions of individual Canadian families can vary greatly based on which custom-mades they’ve chosen to import from their former homeland.


Canadian couples will generally announce their pregnancy with excellent pride to loved ones as quickly as they know, and it prevails for girlfriends of the expecting mom to arrange an infant shower– a small, lighthearted house party– to honour the new mom at some point before she delivers. Soon after the kid is born, it’s similarly popular for pals of the moms and dads to check out and provide a minimum of one infant gift, usually a toy or clothes, to reveal congratulations.

When it comes to calling infant, it’s a relatively common (however by no ways universal) Canadian custom for children to be provided names from within the family. A boy may be named after his father or uncle, for example; a child for her sibling or grandma. Middle names, which most Canadians have, are extremely typically selected in this manner. Children normally take the surname of their father. If children are born to moms and dads who aren’t married, or merely don’t utilize the same surname (see marital relationship customs, below), they’ll sometimes be provided a hyphenated last name combining the names of both moms and dads, for instance, “Martin-Jones.”

Canadian Birthdays

If there’s one thing Canadians enjoy celebrating, it’s the anniversary of their own birth. Over the last few years, birthdays have actually increased to become one of the most tradition-rich spectacles of contemporary Canadian culture.

During youth, the majority of moms and dads will organize birthday celebrations for their kids on the big day (or the closest offered weekend), a fun reason for the birthday kid or lady to gather all their schoolyard friends and invest the afternoon hanging out. Since Canadian kids tend to be fairly ruined nowadays, the company and planning of children’s birthday parties can often be a rather grueling and costly chore for lots of parents; celebrations are now frequently anticipated to include a visit somewhere entertaining, such as the bowling street, swimming pool, or motion picture theatre, as well as a full meal for all the visitors. The guest’s moms and dads, in turn, are expected to purchase the birthday kid or girl a good present in exchange.

As Canadians drift into their teenage years and adulthood they begin to presume greater control over their own birthday strategies. Specific parties end up being rarer, while more casual outings such as a birthday check out to a favourite restaurant or bar become more common. Presents from buddies are also usually phased out around this point, though they might continue from close household. At any age, nevertheless, it’s constantly important to a minimum of acknowledge another person’s birthday with generosity and warm dreams– even simply with a text message or Facebook post.

Graduating from School

Finishing a phase of school in Canada is often commemorated with an expensive graduation event.

In their final year of high school (and in some cases middle school also), students will usually celebrate the conclusion of their research studies with some sort of party organized by the school, typically known as senior prom or grad night. These usually take the kind of an elegant gown gala held at a local hotel or banquet hall, total with a supper, dancing, limousine trips, and lots of awkwardly-posed pictures.

The actual act of graduating is honored in an entire other event a couple of days or weeks later on, usually called convocation. On this day, the successful students don a distinct “graduation gown” attire and publicly get rolled diplomas accrediting their graduation from the head of the school before a packed auditorium filled with friends and parents. Though convocation ceremonies prevail at all levels of Canadian education nowadays (even some kindergartens have actually been understood to engage), the most extravagant eyeglasses are generally carried out at the college or university level. Graduation presents from moms and dads are significantly anticipated from trainees nowadays also, though not all households will be similarly eager to indulge.

Love and Marital relationship

While Canadians don’t marry as much as they utilized to, a legally wedded couple still stays the most common living plan in Canada by a heavy margin, making up over two-thirds of all households counted by the Canadian Census. In recognition of this reality, there is most likely no single minute in any Canadian’s life more awash in routine and ceremony than the long process of getting wed.

Dating and Courtship

Many Canadians will start dating members of the opposite sex in their late teenage years, generally with enjoyable journeys, activities, and other relatively structured outings. It’s no longer considered controversial for Canadians to make love while dating, though there are still taboos about going to bed too early, especially before the 3rd date.

If things go well, a couple might continue dating for numerous years and even cohabit for a while to further test the compatibility of their relationship. Ultimately, the male will be expected to officially propose to his sweetheart, generally by giving a little speech and providing her with a special engagement ring. Must she agree, they then enter a phase of engagement that generally lasts numerous months to a year as the wedding is planned. Since of the long courtship procedure, the typical age of marriage in Canada has actually been steadily increasing, and is now estimated at around 30 for both genders.

In the last months of engagement, the friends of the bride or groom-to-be will often arrange a bachelor or bachelorette celebration to celebrate their last months of singledom, often in a crude or obscene way. Depending on how classy the good friends feel like being, such celebrations can consist of strippers, porn, heavy drinking, betting, and erotically-themed games, or simply a somewhat more chaste “night on the town.”

< img src =""/ > A pleased couple cutting their wedding cake.Myronovych/ Shutterstock

Canadian Weddings

Wedding events in Canada have actually gotten so sophisticated and complex that their planning and organization is now a multi-billion dollar industry unto itself. Studies have actually shown that the average Canadian couple will invest upwards of $30,000 on their wedding, while wedding event visitors will spend near to $700 each on gifts, special clothes, and other associated expenses.

To briefly summarize, a lot of Canadians generally get married in a lavish public event in a church or banquet hall prior to about a hundred or two friends and relative. The bride-to-be will usually use a lovely white wedding dress bought especially for the ceremony, while everyone else will use their finest formal wear. When the gang is assembled, a legally-certified wedding event officiant (administrator), normally a religious leader or judge, will openly lead the bride and groom through special wedding vows revealing loyalty to one another, and then announce them officially wed. The occasion will then usually conclude with an equally lavish, but more relaxed wedding reception, supper, or after-party.

In practice almost every information of a typical Canadian wedding, from flowers to music to seating arrangements, is governed by more guidelines and customs than could potentially be summed up here. Though such wedding event routines are broadly motivated by European-Christian custom-mades, especially British customized, North American weddings nowadays are typically said to have actually evolved to exist in a world of special tradition all their own. Canadians from non-Christian or non-European backgrounds frequently have special wedding customizeds, though these are typically fused to varying degrees with North American ones.


Canadian couples are anticipated to closely follow the number of years they have actually been wed, with the annual anniversary of their wedding date (or in some cases, engagement date) used as a chance for gift-giving or a special night out. Anniversaries ending in 0’s or 5’s (twenty years, 45 years, etc.) are thought about especially crucial, and might be used as an occasion for an unique getaway, exchange of bigger, more costly presents, and even an anniversary celebration. For those who take tradition especially seriously, there is even an official anniversary gift chart dictating which sort of presents should be bought to commemorate which turning point.

But anniversaries aren’t simply for individuals! The Canadian fascination with divisible-by-five numbers implies that any school, club, store, restaurant, and so on that manages to endure several decades around will happily acknowledge its anniversaries too, frequently with celebrations, designs, or sales.


Canadian funeral services are not extremely unlike Canadian weddings– a minimum of in the sense that they tend to be huge, pricey, snazzy spectacles involving a lot of preparation and visitors.

In many Canadian families, the moment someone dies their corpse is shipped to a mortician for embalming and preparation. Once that’s done, there will usually be a viewing– where close family can silently look at the presented body in a special ornamental casket– followed by a complete funeral service a few days after that. Depending upon the religiosity of the family, funerals may be kept in either a church or some way of secular funeral parlour, and will feature dozens of guests who knew the deceased during life. A few short speeches, or eulogies, by close friends or family may be given, followed by another processional watching of the body.

Burial ceremonies will generally be held a couple of hours after the funeral. As the name suggests, these centre around the ritualistic lowering of the deceased into a waiting for grave at a cemetery. Over the last few years, Canada has actually seen an incredible spike in the appeal of cremation– where the body is burned into ashes after the funeral then buried in a little urn– as a cheaper, and some say more classy, alternative to burying the body in a complete coffin. A lot of Canadian cemeteries are privately owned and will house lots, and even numerous bodies, with tombs sometimes separated by religious beliefs.

Due to the fact that death can be such an unforeseen thing, and funeral services so rushed, the precise planning of a Canadian’s death event is often either explicitly outlined in the deceased’s will, or, more typically, merely delegated to agents of the multi-million dollar funeral planning market. Like wedding events, there also tends to be a great deal of multicultural variety in funeral services originating from various religious customizeds. Canadians from Asian or Middle Eastern backgrounds in particular typically having unique traditions regarding the proper way to handle and deal with the deceased.

General Canadian Traditions


As mentioned in the good manners and rules chapter, Canadian gift-giving tends to be rather restrained. Some family and friends might exchange lots of costly presents on symbolically essential days like birthdays or Christmas, while others might offer only small ones, or none at all. Wedding events tend to be the only events in which it is absolutely expected that each and every single person will give a fairly top quality present, otherwise Canadian standards of kindness tend to be a primarily individual thing. Canadians often wrap their presents in unique decorative wrapping paper, but usually just if the gift is going to be given throughout some sort of celebration.


The typical Canadians stinginess with gift-giving is offset rather by the massively popular tradition of providing welcoming cards to friends and family on essential dates. These cards, typically sold at grocery stores and drug stores, as well as specialized card shops, are extremely low-cost to buy but are nonetheless thought about among the most crucial ways to show you haven’t ignored someone else’s wedding. If the card’s from a relative, it main consist of a banknote also.


For those seeking to provide a present abundant in significance, flowers continue to be the Canadian present of option. In general, the act of giving flowers in Canada is considered a gesture of strong affection, generally in the context of a romantic partner or really close friend. A male may traditionally give his wife or girlfriend a bouquet of flowers as a birthday or anniversary present, for instance, or simply as a gesture of interest during dating. Flowers are very typical decors throughout wedding events and funerals, and a typical present of compassion to an ill friend, but are less frequently seen on other vacations or special occasions.

A couple of flowers have specific symbolic significance in Canada. Roses are very highly related to romantic love, particularly on Valentine’s Day, poinsettias are a symbol of Christmas rarely seen outside the vacation, poppies are a symbol of war veterans and Remembrance Day, and white calla lilies are a somewhat old-fashioned symbol of death.

Canadian Luck Traditions

Canadians are not an overly superstitious people, however lots of may still believe in a number of strange prophecies of excellent or misfortune just in case.

Thirteen is considered an unfortunate number and most Canadian apartment or condos, hotels, storage systems and car park will not have a 13th flooring, locker, or stall. Friday the 13th in turn, is considered a consistently unlucky day and individuals will generally prevent scheduling important events, such as wedding events or aircraft trips, on it. Christians associate the number 666 with Satan, while many Asian-Canadians associate the number four with death.

A wide array of odd and approximate actions are thought about unlucky as well, generally for long-forgotten factors vaguely linked to the Bible or fears of witchcraft. Opening an umbrella inside your home, walking under an open ladder, overturning a salt shaker, eliminating a ladybug, or having a black cat cross your path are all relatively typical prophecies of misfortune, while discovering an only cent in the street, picking a four-leafed clover, identifying a shooting star, tossing cash in a decorative water fountain, or blowing an only eyelash off your finger are considered harbingers of best of luck. Certainly, some people will take these sorts of things more seriously than others, but many Canadians will still show some mild respect for luck customs– even if just paradoxically or whimsically.


Lots of Canadians think somewhat seriously in astrology– the pseudoscience of fortunetelling through the position of the planets– and most Canadian papers publish an everyday horoscope column written by a certified astrologer. Knowing “your indication,” which is to say, which of the 12 astrological constellations is connected with your birthday, is considered a standard tenet of self-awareness on par with understanding one’s shoe size, and it’s not uncommon for even otherwise non-superstitious people to freely relate with at least a few of the characteristic tied to their astrological profile.

Aquarius, the water-bearer

January 20 – February 18

Cold, eccentric

Pisces, the fish

February 19 – March 20

Innocent, ignorant

Aries, the ram

March 21 – April 19

Enthusiastic, assertive

Taurus, the bull

April 20 – May 20

Persistent, self-reliant

Gemini, the twins

May 21 – June 20

Two-faced, shallow

Cancer, the crab

June 21 – July 22

Nervous, sensitive

Leo, the lion

July 23 – August 22

Proud, brave

Virgo, the virgin

August 23 – September 22

Mindful, pure

Libra, the scales

September 23 – October 22

Fair, indecisive

Scorpio, the scorpion

October 23 – November 21

Strong, sexual

Sagittarius, the archer

November 22 – December 21

Unemotional, self-centered

Capricorn, the sea-goat

December 22 – January 19

Loner, workaholic

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