Nfld. & Labrador

New country, new traditions: New Canadians celebrate Christmas in St. John's on Thursday

On Thursday the Association for New Canadians held it's own in St. John's, showing newcomers how Canada celebrates the holidays. 

The celebration included mummers, food and gifts

This year will marks Shiakiba Mashil's third Christmas in St. John's. (Gary Locke/CBC)

With Christmas around the corner, the season's parties are beginning to ramp up. 

On Thursday the Association for New Canadians held it's own in St. John's, showing newcomers how Canada celebrates the holidays. 

"This Chirstmas time, I like it because a beautiful culture and beautiful people. Kind people," said Shiakiba Mashil who has been in St. John's for almost three years, originally hailing from Afghanistan.

Mashil said her first Christmas in Newfoundland and Labrador was confusing and cold, but today she embraces the weather.

Thursday's celebration even brought with it some local flair, including a small group of mummers to properly introduce new Canadians to the island.

The celebration on Thursday included some local traditions such as mummers. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Luma Rabeeah, originally from Baghdad, Iraq told CBC News that in India there's a similar tradition of neighbours, in costume, visiting one another and meeting up to celebrate.

This Christmas will be her first in St. John's, but the celebration isn't all unfamiliar.

"In my country we have different types of religions. Christianity, we have it," Rabeeah said.

"I celebrate it every year with the Christians. There's food on the occasion, so I like to celebrate this every year. I have special feelings for this."

Luma Rabeeah comes from Baghdad, Iraq, but knew all about Christmas before coming to Canada. This will be her first Christmas in St. John's. (Gary Locke/CBC)

It was 2017 when Rabeeah last celebrated Christmas at home with her entire family. Today it's only Rabeeah and her older sister living in St. John's. 

Donations to the ANC were made by the Eastern Edge Quilters Guild with quilts and pillowcases, and by Waterford Valley High School student volunteers who put together gift bags for the children in attendance. 

The room, at St. Pius X Church, was busy with more than 350 new Canadians coming together to celebrate new lives in a new country.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cec Haire

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