Newcomers, Islanders share Christmas spirit

New immigrants got a chance to experience Christmas in Canada at a party held by the PEI Association for Newcomers Wednesday evening.

Party allows immigrants of all faiths to enjoy the holiday

The PEI Association for Newcomers held its annual Christmas party, giving immigrants the chance to learn about the holiday from Islanders. 1:25

New immigrants got a chance to experience Christmas in Canada at a party held by the PEI Association for Newcomers Wednesday evening.

For many immigrants, it was their first chance to integrate into their new home alongside lifelong residents of P.E.I.

Newly arrived from China, Andy Young's family is celebrating their first Christmas in Canada. And they're doing what they can to make their stay a permanent one.

As long as there is food and people together, then it's another way to celebrate.- Cindy Lapeña

"We come from our country, through PNP. So we enjoy our stay here, so we are trying our best to adapt to the local culture and immerse in the local community," said Young.

For years, the PEI Association for Newcomers has held these Christmas parties.

And the celebration grows every year.

"We've heard overwhelmingly that even when someone is of a different religion, they very much want to know what Christmas is about and how we celebrate it. Kind of experience that a bit. It's really kind of the Canadian experience," says Nancy Clement, community outreach facilitator

Cindy Lapeña says breaking down cultural barriers is easy. (CBC)

Newcomers who immerse in the Canadian experience are likely succeed in their new homes, she said.

And Htoo K'mu Paw, who arrived nearly seven years ago from Thailand as a refugee, agrees.

"I think it's really nice when people come together, and share in their own little things in here. You've got to meet a lot of people too," she said.

Breaking down cultural barriers isn't really all that hard, said Cindy Lapeña.

"As long as there is food and people together, then it's another way to celebrate. And every culture, especially Asian cultures, we love to celebrate."

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