What is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is the new year of the Lunar Calendar. The lunar calendar follows the cycles of the moon and is commonly used in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Because the lunar calendar follows the moon, the new year will always fall on a different day every year. In the West, we usually use the Gregorian calendar where the new year always falls on January 1.(more…)
Do you enjoy the New Year? How do you celebrate it? Do you make special goals or plans? I know that New Year’s Eve is a special time for many people in different countries.
In Canada, many people stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (December 31). They might have a private party with friends or family, or they might go to a pub or club. People love to dress up for New Year’s parties! Women often wear shiny or sparkly dresses. 10 seconds before midnight, they start to count: “Ten… nine… eight…” until, finally, “… one… HAPPY NEW YEAR!” They often cheer and hug (or kiss) the people around them. After that, some people sing a Scottish song called Auld Lang Syne. Most of us know the tune, but very few know all the words! So we usually just sing “la la la” and pretend that we know it!
Many people make a New Year’s resolution. This is a personal promise or goal that you make to improve your life. Common New Year’s resolutions are: to exercise more, lose weight, visit family and friends more often, save more money, or learn a new skill. Some people take these resolutions very seriously, and they succeed. However, many people abandon their goals quickly. In January, it is common to joke about how long you were able to keep your resolution!
What will you do this year? Will you stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year? Will you celebrate with family and friends? Or will you stay quietly at home and enjoy your rest? Will you make a New Year’s resolution, and will you keep it?
No matter what you do, REV wishes you a very happy New Year! May your 2019 be filled with joy and love!
Canada is a multicultural country. We celebrate so many different holidays, from Diwali to Lunar New Year to Eid. We also celebrate Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year. Some people and businesses start to prepare months in advance. Thinking about the perfect gift for a loved one can be a stressful experience and some people take months to decide. Sometimes you’ll even see Christmas decorations in July!
But what do Canadians do to celebrate Christmas? We all have ideas of Christmas. We think of snow, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, a hot fireplace, turkey and roast beef, and Christmas lights. However, not every Canadian family has the same Christmas traditions. Some families might not celebrate at all, while others go all out in their traditions.
Here are some Christmas traditions that are familiar to many families across Canada.
December is a very festive month in Canada. You can see, hear, and feel the Christmas spirit everywhere. Many students asked, “We don’t have families here to celebrate Christmas with, and stores are closed early. What can we do for fun during Christmas?” Here’s a little guide to help you (based on your budget) spend a lovely time during “the most wonderful time of the year”!
Free or by donation:
Times Colonist 2018 Christmas Lights Map (Drive around the city to see some of the most amazing Christmas light displays!)
Note: Many of these free events are actually for good causes. The donated money all go to charities which then go to those in need. If you can, help support these events with whatever much you can. Sharing makes us all richer!
With a small budget:
Skate with Santa ($2.00 when you bring a non-perishable food item!)
With a bigger budget:
Ballet Victoria – The Gift (featuring one of our many talented students, Davide!)
Victoria has so much more to offer for Christmas! If you’re the artistic kind, try out some of the Christmas-themed workshops around the town to make wreaths and seasonal decorations. If you are into music, there are caroling performances here and there in town. Best of all, organize your own caroling group!
A reminder: If you’re taking the public transportation to get around, it will be operating on a reduced schedule on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. And always remember to bundle up!
What do you say when you want to scare somebody?
In English, we say “boo”! We think that this is the sound that ghosts make.
Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and witches are just a few of the monsters that we think of on Halloween.
Halloween is a spooky (scary) holiday with a long history.
Many of our Halloween traditions come from Ireland, Scotland, and England.
Take a look at some of the many Halloween customs that we have in Canada!
Wearing a costume is one of the most popular Halloween traditions.
On Halloween, you’ll see both children and adults dressed up in costumes ranging from cute to frightening.
Some people like to plan their costume months in advance!
Children will often wear a costume to school and for trick-or-treating, and some adults will wear a costume to work or to a party.
Sorry, this activity is for children (and some teenagers) only!
On Halloween night, children go to their neighbour’s houses and knock on their doors.
When the door opens up, the children will say, “Trick or treat!”
The neighbour will then give some Halloween candy or another treat to the children.
After, the children will say thank you and continue to the next house.
Now, trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood is becoming less common.
Some parents are worried about their children’s safety.
Sometimes the houses are too far apart.
Because of this, going trick-or-treating at a shopping mall is becoming popular.
Regardless of where children go, they usually end up with a big bag of Halloween candy at the end of the night!
BOBBING FOR APPLES
Bobbing for apples is a very old tradition.
Many apples are placed in a container – usually a barrel.
The container is filled with water.
Participants try to grab the apples with their mouths, and they are not allowed to use their hands.
A long time ago, girls used to put the apples under their pillows.
They thought that if they did this, they would dream of their future husband.
Nowadays, we only bob for apples for fun.
Many people like to make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween.
A jack-o’-lantern is a pumpkin with a face carved (cut with a knife) into it with a knife.
Originally, people made jack-o’-lanterns to protect themselves from evil (bad) ghosts and spirits on Halloween.
The first jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips in Ireland and Scotland, but in North America, we use pumpkins.
Halloween was originally a religious holiday to commemorate (remember and celebrate) the dead.
The modern celebration of Halloween in North America is often not religious.
Instead, we use Halloween as a day to have fun feeling scared.
People like to watch horror movies, listen to creepy (uncomfortable and scary) music, and tell scary stories.
One of the most famous ghost stories is about Bloody Mary, a female ghost.
Legend says that if you say the name “Bloody Mary” three times while standing in front of a mirror in a dark room, Bloody Mary will appear.
Children like to do this activity in a group.
Usually, one person will think they see something in the mirror and scream, causing the rest of the group to freak out (panic and be scared).
I still remember playing this game at my friend’s house on Halloween!
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I know I did. I have some family time, some turkey, and some rest. I also enjoyed the orange leaves and grey skies – a typical Victoria fall.
When I first taught overseas (in Mexico), my coworkers often asked me why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day than Americans. (Canadians celebrate it on the second Monday of October, whereas the American date is the fourth Thursday of November). I realized I didn’t know, so I did a lot of research, but I was unable to find a clear answer.
Some websites suggested it was because Canada is further north, so we harvest (pick vegetables) earlier. Some said it is connected with the arrival of explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578, who gave thanks for his safe journey. Another website I read said that it is simply because the Canadian and American governments chose different dates when they made Thanksgiving an official holiday! So the truth is, we don’t really know.
The American Thanksgiving story of “the Pilgrims and the Indians [First Nations peoples]” is well-known, but Americans did not “invent” Thanksgiving; harvest festivals are celebrated in many different cultures. Thanksgiving is essentially a time to celebrate the harvest and be grateful for the good gifts that we have in our lives – food, family, friends.