New Year’s Eve
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.
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.