Easter and Good Friday in Canada: A Complete Guide

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Easter and Good Friday are Canada’s most important religious and cultural events. This article will try to determine the traditions, customs, and activities shaping Christian celebrations in the forthcoming spring.

Easter is the Christian holiday that represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the Old Testament and New Testament claim about him. It is called the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church. Good Friday, which in turn falls before Easter Sunday, denotes the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ1.

1. History of Easter and Good Friday in Canada

Easter day Celebrations
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Easter and Good Friday2 are characterized by spiritual roots that can be traced back to when indigenous people first arrived in Canada. These holidays have changed with time. To a certain degree, they include Christian tales but, at the same time, generously absorb unique Canadian cultural traditions. Easter celebrations in the early years of Canadian history were held through prayer services in church and community gatherings, displaying the strong Christian influence in the country.

2. Dates of Easter and Good Friday

Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox, typically between March 22 and April 25, and Good Friday always lands on the Friday right before Easter. It is essential to acknowledge that the Easter date changes yearly based on the lunar calendar. The Gregorian calendar3 represents the Western Christian tradition, while the Oriental Christian tradition uses the Julian calendar, so sometimes the Easter dates will not be the same.

How do I celebrate Easter as a Canadian

3. Traditions and Customs

Easter and Good Friday are celebrated with different traditions and customs across Canada. Many Canadians attend the church service on Good Friday, which is the day to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Others still staged solemn rallies or reenactments of the Stations of the Cross.

On Easter Sunday, families gather for festive meals and participate in egg hunting and other activities. Easter eggs, which symbolize regeneration and revival, are often found in Canadian families. Moreover, hot cross buns, a spiced sweet bun with a cross, are usually eaten on Good Friday.

children playing on easter
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4. Events and Activities

Communities all over the country organize different events and activities during Easter. Every event is suitable, from Easter parades to egg-decorating competitions. Cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver will stage significant Easter events, including music, food vendors, and family-oriented entertainment.

Local churches conduct such services, too, including sunrise services and Easter vigils. Families might visit botanical gardens or parks for outdoor Easter egg hunting or picnicking.

Easter eggs hunting
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5. Food and Recipes

Food is of prime importance during Canada’s Easter and Good Friday holidays. Traditional recipes may differ, sometimes including roast lamb, ham, or salmon as the main course. Side dishes can be mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and fresh bread.

Canadians have dessert options, such as Easter chocolates, fruit tarts, and pastries. Bread makers traditionally bake simnel cake, a fruitcake topped with marzipan, as an Easter sweet delicacy.

Here’s a simple recipe for hot cross buns:

5.1. Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • one-fourth cup of melted butter or unsalted butter.
  • One egg
  • mix 1/2 cup of raisins or currants.
  • One teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • water, three tablespoons.
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (to be applied as glaze).
hot cross buns
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5.2. Instructions

  • Use a large bowl to mix all the ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves).
  • Combine the milk, the melted butter, and the egg in another bowl until they mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients, one by one, to the dry ones until dough.
  • Make the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes for a smooth and elastic consistency.
  • Put the dough in a bowl, grease the edges, and let it lie for one to two hours, away from a cold place, until it doubles in size.
  • Paste down the dough and integrate it into the raisins or currents.
  • Split the dough into equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into small balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet with a greased surface, leaving room for another ball.
  • Wrap the buns with a clean cloth and let them rise for about an hour or until they double in size.
  • Set the oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Mix flour and water in a small bowl for the cross until it becomes a paste form. Using a piping tip, place the dough on top of the buns like a cross.
  • Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes or until you see a golden surface.
  • Warm a small bowl of apricot jam in a saucepan and glaze your warm buns to achieve a nice glossy look.
  • Heat the warm cross buns or serve them at the room level.

6. Symbols and Decorations

Eggs, bunnies, and lilies are the most common decorations used both in Easter celebrations and on Canadian streets. Eggs, symbolic of fresh life and fertility, are traditionally painted in bright colors. Many people associate bunnies with spring and birth. You can see them in the Easter decorations.

Nowadays, many people in Canada decorate their homes with doors covered with Easter wreaths, flowers, crosses, and crucifixes. The front of the church may also be decorated with Easter lilies and other flowers typical of the season.

bunny on grass
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7. Family Activities

Easter breaks have many doors that families can walk through and spend time together. Some may attend church services, hunt Easter eggs, watch parades, or even take a leisurely Easter-Egg brunch with their loved ones at home. The family might decorate Easter eggs or make family cards with their designs. Outdoor lovers can go for the spring nature to organize a hike, bike ride, or nature walk.

A family on easter
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8. Travel Tips

  • For families who travel during the Easter weekend, it’s necessary to make an itinerary and take care of all the details. undefined
  • Book your accommodations far ahead, as hotels and vacation homes can get full early for the permanent holiday.
  • Check the travel restrictions that might be in effect and the COVID-19 protocols in place at your destination.
  • Dress appropriately according to the weather, considering the diversity of Canadian spring temperatures. ​
  • Consider giving yourself additional time for the journey, as you’ll be on the road for a few hours or flying during the peak moment.
  • Take advantage of local events and activities soured out by your destination to get the natural feel of the Easter vacation.
Hot air balloons in the sky
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9. Conclusion

As Easter approaches springtime, people in Canada are ready to celebrate the much-awaited holidays with their relatives, acquaintances, and communities.

There are just so many festival activities you could watch and participate in during Easter weekend here in Canada, whether you are religious or not. Easter and Good Friday bring us a time of unity, and we preserve and celebrate our national cultural heritage.

  1. Khan, Zahid Hussain, and Seyed Amir Hossein Javadi. “Jesus Christ; resurrection or resuscitation.” British J Med Health Sci (BJMHS) 2.11 (2020): 590-593. ↩︎
  2. Montgomery, Rory. “The Good Friday Agreement and a United Ireland.” Irish Studies in International Affairs 32.2 (2021): 83-110. ↩︎
  3. Šegan-Radonjić, Marija, and Stevo Šegan. “Calendar as a Criterion in the Study of Culture.” (2023). ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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