Calendar

Nov
21
Wed
World Hello Day – Promote Peace
Nov 21 all-day

World Hello Day on November 21 is an unofficial holiday created to promote world peace through interpersonal communication.

world-hello-day-church Say "hello" to everyone you meet on World Hello Day. ©iStockphoto.com/Maridav

Say “hello” to everyone you meet on World Hello Day.

The unofficial holiday was created by Brian and Michael McCormack as a response to the Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egyptand Syria in 1973.

Say Hello

The purpose of World Hello Day is simple – to encourage communication and dialogue between people of different backgrounds in order to achieve peace and understanding.

Since its beginning in 1973, the day has been celebrated around the world annually with several Nobel Peace Prize winners and peace activists taking part in it.

How to Celebrate?

  • World Hello Day requires that participants greet at least 10 people. These people can be family and friends, but it is suggested that one finds strangers to greet and talk to.

Did You Know…

…that hello was used as a telephone greeting for the first time by Thomas Edison?

Nov
23
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Nov 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Nov
25
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Nov 25 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Nov
27
Tue
First Sunday of Advent in Canada
Nov 27 – Nov 28 all-day

Many Christians in Canada celebrate the beginning of the Advent season on the first Sunday of Advent. It marks the start of the Christian year in western Christianity. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, starting on the Sunday nearest St Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Day.

advent-canada-st-stephens-church  Many church liturgies are used with the lighting of Advent candles in Canada. ©iStockphoto.com/Jasmin Awad


Many church liturgies are used with the lighting of Advent candles in Canada.

What Do People Do?

In the Roman Catholic Church and in some Anglican communities the third Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, from the first word of the introit (psalm or antiphon) “Rejoice”. In some churches rose-colored vestments may replace the purple and flowers may be placed on the altar. In many eastern Christian churches, the church year begins in September 1 so Advent begins at a different time to when it starts in the western churches. The Eastern equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, which runs for 40 days. It is sometimes called Philip’s Fast, or the Philippian Fast, and begins on the day following the Feast of St Philip the Apostle (November 14).

Advent around the world is usually associated with the Advent calendars that parents give their children to help them count the days until Christmas. Preparation for Christmas is an important theme for Advent, particularly at the beginning. It is a time when the Christmas menu is planned, gifts are bought or made, then wrapped, carols are sung, Christmas cards are sent and houses are decorated with Christmas-themed lights and other decorations. Advent customs in some European countries, such as Germany, include lighting candles and hanging special Advent wreaths.

Public Life

The first Sunday of Advent is not a nationwide public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, churches may be busy on this day, as are families who use the beginning of Advent as a time to prepare for the Christmas season.

Background

It is uncertain as to when exactly the celebration of Advent was first introduced in the Christian church. Some sources say that Advent began on November 11 (St Martin’s Day) at some time in the fifth century in the form of a six-week fast leading to Christmas. Advent was reduced to its current length at some stage in the sixth century and the fasting was later no longer observed.

It was customary, although no longer practiced, for poor women to carry “Advent images”, which were two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the northern parts of England. Those who saw the dolls were expected to give a donation in form of money and bad luck was believed to occur to those who were not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve.

Advent is originally a time to reflect and prepare for Christmas similarly to how Lent is in preparation for Easter. Advent has sometimes been referred to as the Winter Lent. In recent times the restrictions that Advent brings to Christians have become more relaxed.

Symbols

Purple is historically the main color used for Advent because it reflects penitence, fasting, and the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the king (Jesus Christ). The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his second Advent. Some churches use other colors in recent times. For example, some churches mark the third Sunday of Advent with pink or rose, colors that represent joy. Many Protestant churches use blue to distinguish the Season of Advent from Lent.

Advent wreaths are symbolic of Advent in some countries. They are usually made of fir and decorated with gold and silver ribbons or scarlet woolen threads. Lit wreaths may be displayed on the table where family and friends sit while singing carols and preparing handmade gifts.

Nov
30
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Nov 30 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Dec
2
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Dec 2 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Dec
3
Mon
New Year’s Eve in Canada
Dec 3 all-day

New Year’s Eve is a day of reflection of the past year’s events and a time to prepare for the New Year. It is also the last day of the Canadian tax year. Many people attend special parties or other events to mark the end of one year and the start of the next one.

new years eve fireworks-montreal st stephens church Fireworks over the Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal, Canada.


Fireworks over the Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal, Canada.

What Do People Do?

On New Year’s Eve, social gatherings of all sizes are organized to mark the end of one year and the start of the next. These range from small parties with family members and a few good friends in private homes to huge street parties with live entertainment, music, dancing and even public fireworks. Many events start in the middle of the evening on December 31 and continue into the early hours of January 1.

Some people mark the stroke of midnight by opening bottles of champagne or sparkling wine and drinking a toast to the New Year and the health of everyone present. Others take a short vacation to enjoy Canada’s natural beauty at its wintry best or to take part in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. In rural areas in northern Canada, particularly in Quebec, some people spend all night on a frozen lake with a group of good friends and fish through holes in the ice.

Public Life

December 31 is not a public holiday and in general post offices, stores and other businesses are open. However, they may close earlier than usual. Bars, restaurants and clubs may have special opening hours and different entrance policies to usual. Public transit services usually run as usual in the morning and early afternoon but may offer a reduced service or close down completely in the late afternoon or early evening. In some large cities, there may be extra transport services late in the evening on December 31 and the early hours of January 1 to enable people to return home from New Year celebrations safely.

Background

In Europe, the darkest part of winter has been a time of celebration with displays of fire, evergreen plants and nature’s bounty since pre-Christian times.  When many inhabitants of Europe were converted to Christianity, these festivals were merged with Christian beliefs and in time came to mark Christmas and the New Year. When European settlers came to Canada, they brought these customs with them and their celebrations evolved into the events seen today.

Symbols

Symbols of New Year’s Eve include images of Canada’s winter landscape, winter sports, champagne bottles, and some New Year fireworks are in the form of traditional symbols associated with Canada, such as the maple leaf.

Dec
7
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Dec 7 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Dec
8
Sat
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec 8 all-day

Many Christians, particularly those of Catholic faith, in Canada observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on or around December 8.

feast-of-the-immaculate-conception-st-stephens-church  Various statues and other forms of artwork on the Immaculate Conception often feature the Virgin Mary as a young woman. ©iStockphoto.com/Domenico Pellegriti


Various statues and other forms of artwork on the Immaculate Conception often feature the Virgin Mary as a young woman.

What Do People Do?

Some churches in Canada, particularly the Catholic churches, hold special services (or masses) to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on or close to December 8. The feast focuses on the concept that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin. Many churches that observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception are busy preparing for the occasion prior to its occurrence.

Many church-run schools teach their students about the observance and its meaning around this time of the year. Some people write feature articles about the observance in publications or gazettes that are centered on the theme of religion.

Public Life

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is an observance among many Christian churches but it is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada.

Background

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception centers on the belief that Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was conceived without sin. Pope Pius IX issued an apostolic constitution, known as the Ineffabilis Deus, on December 8, 1854. This document clarified the importance of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church.

Symbols

Various paintings, statues and other forms of artwork have been made depicting the Immaculate Conception. Images of the Virgin Mary are shown in many of these artworks. Some churches and church-run schools in Canada are named in honor of the Immaculate Conception.

Conception Bay, in Newfoundland and Labrador, is named to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. People from Europe came to this area as far back as the early 1500s to use the bay for its rich marine resources.

Dec
9
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Dec 9 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Dec
11
Tue
Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster
Dec 11 all-day

The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is observed in Canada on December 11 each year to mark the statute’s establishment. The Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on this day.

the-anniversary-of-the-statute-of-westminster-canadian-flag-royal-union-flag-st-stephens-church  Both the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster. ©iStockphoto.com/philpell


Both the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster.

Flags Up from Sunrise to Sunset

Businesses, individuals and government offices across Canada observe the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster on this day. Canada’s national flag and the Royal Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, are flown from sunrise to sunset. The flags can be seen at federal buildings, airports, military bases and other government establishments.

What’s Open or Closed?

The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is not a public holiday but government and military officials ensure that the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together from sunrise to sunset on this day.

About the Day

The original Royal Union flag, or Union Jack, was first raised at a British settlement in Newfoundland, Canada, after 1610. In 1870 the flag was incorporated into the flags of the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1904 the flag became a Canadian symbol and was used by Canadian troops during World War I.

However, for many years during the early 20th century Canada sought to gain formal recognition of its autonomy from the United Kingdom. Finally, in 1931 the Statute of Westminster, 1931, which was an Act of the British Parliament, gave Canada its autonomy. This statute marks the independence of Canada as the nation that it is today.

In 1964 Canada’s parliament approved for the Royal Union flag to be used as a symbol of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and of the nation’s allegiance to the British Crown. Canada remains close with the United Kingdom and flies the Royal Union Flag along with the Canadian flag for occasions such as the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, Commonwealth Day, and Victoria Day.

Symbols

The Royal Union Flag, which is seen on the arms of British Columbia and on the flags of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, incorporates the diagonal cross of St Patrick with England’s St George’s cross and Scotland’s St Andrew’s cross. The Canadian flag is red and white, the official colors of Canada, with a stylized 11-point red leaf in its center. When flown together, there must be at least two flag poles and the Canadian flag takes precedence, never being replaced by the Union Jack.

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Dec
14
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Dec 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Dec
16
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Dec 16 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Dec
21
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Dec 21 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Dec
23
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Dec 23 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Dec
25
Tue
Christmas in Canada
Dec 25 all-day

Many Christians in Canada mark the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, which is known as Christmas Day. It is a day of celebration when many Canadians exchange gifts and enjoy festive meals.

christmas-church-st-stephens  Christmas stockings near a decorated Christmas tree. ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59


Christmas stockings near a decorated Christmas tree.

What Do People Do?

Many Canadians have a day off work on December 25 and many spend the day with close relatives or friends. It is customary to exchange gifts, enjoy a special festive meal and, perhaps, attend a special church service. However, some people, particularly in Quebec, do some or all of these things on Christmas Eve as well as, or instead of, on Christmas Day.

The traditions centered on Christmas gifts in Canada vary a lot between families. In some families, a mythical figure called Santa Claus brings gifts. He travels on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, enters homes via the chimney and leaves presents and candy in Christmas stockings or in a pile under the Christmas tree. In other families, individual members exchange carefully selected gifts. Popular gifts are toys, games and candy for children and clothes, music, alcohol and practical or luxury items for adults. Canadians may open their presents on Christmas Eve after a special church service or during the morning or after lunch on Christmas Day.

Some people consume large quantities of food and drinks on Christmas Day. The day may start with a cooked breakfast, such as ham and eggs or pancakes. Lunch is often a very large meal with a stuffed or dressed roast turkey, potatoes, a selection of vegetables and cranberry sauce and gravy to add flavor. After the savory part of the meal, plum or Christmas pudding is traditionally eaten. Some families also eat a large evening meal, perhaps based around a leg of pork or ham, or re-heat the leftovers from the lunch. During the day, many types of sweet and savory snacks are served, including candy, oranges or mandarins, nuts and butter tarts or shortbread.

Public Life

Christmas Day is a national public holiday in Canada. Schools, post offices and many businesses and organizations are closed on Christmas Day. Some stores may be open. Many public transport services are closed or offer a reduced service. When Christmas Day falls on a Sunday or Saturday that is a non-working day, workers are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the general holiday.

Background

Many Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem on December 25, although the true date and year of his birth is unclear. The tradition of celebrating his birth at the end of December may come from the widespread European tradition of celebrations around the winter solstice. Christians who follow the Eastern Orthodox tradition celebrate the birth of Jesus on January 7, while it is marked on January 6 by the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Symbols

There are many symbols of Christmas. These include images of baby Jesus and the Holy family in the stable, stars and Christmas trees. Another important symbol of Christmas is Santa Claus. This is a mythical figure with origins in European, particularly British, Dutch and German, cultures. He is a jolly man who wears a red suit, has a long white beard, lives at the North Pole and travels in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. On Christmas Eve, he travels to the homes of children and leaves them presents in Christmas stockings or under the Christmas tree.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors and controls the aerospace above the United States and Canada, even “monitors” Santa’s movements during November and December. Images and models of Santa Claus and actors playing his role can be seen in many places in the lead up to Christmas.

Dec
28
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Dec 28 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Dec
30
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Dec 30 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Jan
4
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Jan 4 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage

Jan
6
Sun
The Lord’s Day
Jan 6 all-day

The Lord’s Day in Christianity is generally Sunday, the principal day of communal worship.

the-lord's-day-fun-heritageIt is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the canonical Gospels to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of the week. According to some sources, Christians held worship on Sunday in the 1st century.

How to Celebrate?

  • Attend a Church service. Stay for the meet and greet following.
  • Say a prayer for the first person comes to mind.
  • Resolve to be a kinder person.

Did You Know…

… The earliest Biblical example of Christians meeting together on a Sunday for the purpose of “breaking bread” and preaching is cited in the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 and verse 7 (Acts 20:7).

Jan
11
Fri
Soup’s On @ St Stephen's Memorial Hall
Jan 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

St Stephen’s Memorial Hall

hospitality-soups on-heritage