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Canada and its typical Christmas traditions .

Canada and its typical Christmas traditions .

It’s the time of the year we all have been waiting for, it’s time for Christmas. A time of the year where the winter snow adorns the street and the ugly sweaters comes out of the closet. It’s a time to bond and indulge in family traditions. Enjoy the comfort of family and friends while sipping on warm wine and eggnogs.

However, does tradition vary based on countries or is Santa a common belief all around the world? For example in Austria instead of Santa people believe in “Krisken” and instead of Santa’s loyal elves, they believe in “Krampus” to ward off evil. So how is it going to be like in other countries where Christmas is the main celebration?

Today, we decided to put together the highlights of Christmas in Canada. Are they similar to their border brother America or do they practice a completely different Christmas?

1. Santa Is The Same Everywhere

Santa: it’s a child’s wish to watch his thick belly slide down with ease bellow their chimneys and leave presents. That Santa is Ho Ho Ho-ing with his reindeer and leaving trails of cookie crumbs behind has been the belief of people all around the world. It’s not much different in Canada either. Canadians pride upon telling their children that Canada is the home of Santa, although the Finnish may disagree but Canadians celebrate Santa with a more personal relationship.

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Have you heard of the Santa Parade?

If you haven’t, then you’ll be excited to know Toronto has been the oldest organizer of the Santa parade. Happening in the week of Christmas, the streets of Toronto are filled with Santas and their fans. It started in the midst of 1913 where a huge Santa was paraded around the streets and children followed his trail. Now it’s an international event, with live broadcasts all around the world where 25 floats and more than 2000 people can be seen participating.

However, in the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Santa brings a laugh among the people. In a celebration called Belsnickeling, people take pride in dressing up in funny Santa costumes and creating a trail of laughter.

Pleasantly, we are not surprised that Canada has managed to embrace diversity even with Santa.

2. ‘Réveillon’, A French History

We are all aware of the two main influences in Canada. The English and the French. The French cities of Canada such as Quebec are some of the prettiest cities of this century. With it being part of the UNESCO Culture Heritage program, Quebec is deemed a prestigious and unique city.

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However, that isn’t the only point that stands out with the French community in Canada. ‘Réveillon’ is an event celebrated by the French community on the eve of Christmas. This celebration starts with the Midnight Mass and ends in the early hours of Christmas morning. A beautiful tradition where they pray to ‘Père Noel’ (A Version of Santa) to pay a visit and leave gifts for the children.

A traditional meal for Christmas in the cultural Quebec is ‘ragoût aux pattes de cochons’ which is made from pigs feet however over the years many have opted for an easier alternative which is called ‘Tortière’, a form of meat pie which is usually made out of venison however sometimes using pig or beef meat .

Are you excited to be part of the ‘Réveillon’?

3. The Old Skool Goodies Of Canadian Christmas Treats

The best part about Christmas is the fact that we can enjoy the beautiful delicacies that are blessed onto us once every year. The tiny gingerbread, the chocolate shaped Santa and the cinnamon cookies are a tradition. The rock hard fruit cake and the delicious hot chocolate to go with it is a tradition in all Christmas countries.

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However, Canadians await their own unique candy, homemade in their motherland . At first, the names may throw you off, however, we have all learned not to judge a book by its cover. Barley Candy, similar to our chocolate Santa’s these are formed in various shapes that represent Christmas. If you’ve enjoyed gummy bears than their appearance might not be that drastic however it definitely is sweet.

“Chicken Bones” is another of Canada’s wonderful candies. It’s not made out of chicken bones or shaped like one, however, it has a soft and fluffy exterior with a milk chocolate filling. Once the exterior melts in your mouth, you’ll then be able to enjoy the juicy and soft center.

For Canadians, these candies are definitely a treat.

4. All Kinds Of Meat

Meat mania is a common thing in every household during Christmas, for vegetarians, it becomes a challenge to adapt and enjoy meat. In Canada however, the multiculturalism has created a diverse array of food, where not only meat is the main delicacy but several other food groups as well.

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For example, Canada’s Ukrainian community which is the largest Ukranian community in the world after in Ukraine and in Russia, enjoy themselves with a platter of 12 different kinds of meat while the community in Nova Scotia starts Christmas with an array of seafood. Usually for the main course lobster is the popular dish, since Nova Scotia is located near the shore, their produce’s come directly from the sea.

Through the food, you can identify the cultural background and the type of natural produce that’s located in that region. Bring them all together then you’ve got Canada.

In Conclusion

If you’re planning on staying in Canada this Christmas then you should definitely check these things out. It will be an amazing experience for you .

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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