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New Year’s Day
Major holiday after thisEaster

New Year's Day 2019 and 2020

Canada celebrates New Year’s Day every 1 January with a nation-wide statutory holiday.

Year Date Day Holiday Provinces and Territories
2019 1 Jan Tue New Year's Day National
2020 1 Jan Wed New Year's Day National

Like many other countries, celebration of the New Year begins the night before, with parties that range from lavish to quiet. The parties often extend into the early morning hours. In rural areas of Canada, ice fishing is common on New Year’s Eve. At midnight, in many areas of Canada, fireworks are common. They are often accompanied by music and may be part of a larger festival with live music.

In Charlottetown, it is a custom to sip hot apple cider, enjoy an old-fashioned sleigh ride and enjoy music before the fireworks display. The fireworks are set off early in the evening so children can enjoy them. In Nova Scotia, families skate at the Emera Oval before gathering for the Grande Parade, live music and fireworks.

In Quebec City, the Grande Ailee, becomes a large snow-covered dance floor with acrobats, live music, fire-eaters and fireworks. In Calgary there are ice sculptures and fire performances at the Olympic Plaza. In Regina, Saskatchewan, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum has an indoor and outdoor celebration with games, crafts and a dance party for families. There is a Noon Year’s Eve party at the Saskatchewan Science Centre designed for children who cannot wait up until midnight.

There is a spectacular fireworks display over Niagara Falls on New Year’s Eve as well.

In some areas of Canada, people participate in what is known as “First Footer,” a Scottish tradition. Shortly after midnight, neighbours pay visits to impart New Year’s wishes, bringing along a gift, usually of coal for the fire or shortbread. It is considered lucky if a tall, dark handsome man is the first to step into a home after midnight.

Other traditions that are common throughout North America include champagne toasts at midnight and kissing a significant other to guarantee true love for the upcoming year.

Polar Bear Swim

One custom that is believed to bring good luck throughout the year is the Polar Bear Swim held in many municipalities throughout Canada on New Year’s Day. In this tradition, people run into ice cold ocean, lake or river water, sometimes to raise money for charity.

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