The holiday season is often marked by festive lights, tinsel, mistletoe, boozy hot beverages, and winter greenery and garland, but these places in Canada do things a bit differently. From a Krampus-inspired festival to chicken-bone-shaped candy, here are some of the most out-of-the-ordinary holiday traditions you’ll find across Canada.

Mummers Festival  – Newfoundland & Labrador

Every year, residents and visitors alike in St. John gather for a host of events and workshops leading up to the famed Mummers Parade. According to the event, “mummering” in Newfoundland and Labrador is the 300-year-old Christmastime tradition of disguising yourself in your best “odd” costumes and visiting the houses of your friends and neighbours.

Once the hosts correctly guess who the “mummers” are, everyone takes off their masks and stays for a party or social, and then repeats the process at the next house, and the next…

Essentially, the more unrecognizable the costume and behaviour, the more experienced the “mummer.”

When: November 25th to December 9th
Where: St. John, Newfoundland & Labrador

Krampusnacht Edmonton Lauf 

Inspired by the “Christmas Devil” character of Krampus originating in central and eastern Europe, Krampusnacht Edmonton brings the storied tradition to ‘Kanada’ every year, starting in 2012.

For those who don’t know, Krampus is a large hairy demon that is often seen rattling his rusty chains and scaring young children into behaving before Christmas arrives, according to the event page.

The Yuletide festival features a parade of individuals dressed as Krampus, which just took place on Saturday, December 3rd this year. So next year, get your fur, fire, and horns ready, Edmonton!

When: Every Saturday closest to December 5th annually
Where: Whyte Avenue, Edmonton

Ganong Chicken Bones – New Brunswick

strange holiday traditions canada
Photo via Ganong

In New Brunswick, the holidays aren’t complete without a large bag of Ganong Chicken Bones, a spicy cinnamon-flavoured hard candy created in 1885 by Frank Sparhawk. According to the company’s website, the candy was popularized in St. Stephen and has become a celebrated yet odd tradition throughout the province.

Where: New Brunswick

Woody the Talking Christmas Tree – Nova Scotia

 

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One of Canada’s most iconic Christmas trees comes to life every year as part of Mic Mac Mall’s holiday celebrations in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Named Woody the Talking Christmas Tree, the attraction “awakens” every season to delight (and disturb) mall visitors of all ages.

Where: Mic Mac Mall, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
When: Starting Saturday, November 18th

So there you have it, Christmas lovers. It looks like there’s more than one way to get into the spirit.