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How new Canadians embrace holiday traditions: ‘Christmas back home was very different’ – Global News

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Decorating Christmas trees, baking winter-themed treats and opening gifts are all typical traditions during the holiday season. 

But for some new Canadians, the holidays are about creating new traditions that stick.

That’s true for Harmeet Singh and Manpreet Kaur, who are ready to spend their second Christmas in Toronto since emigrating from India in April 2018. 


READ MORE:
Canadians desire traditional — but not necessarily religious — Christmas celebrations: poll

“Last year, that was a transition phase where we were just understanding what is given priority here … and learning how to get ourselves involved with Canadian culture,” said Singh.

“This year, I think we are all set. We are pumped for Christmas.”

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Navigating a new country and its culture has expanded beyond Kaur and Singh’s private life — they also give advice to new immigrants about life in Canada on their YouTube channel.

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Under the name Canada Couple, the two cover topics from how to dress for Canadian winters to how to find an apartment. 

“We started this [YouTube channel] because we wanted people and new immigrants to learn from our mistakes,” he said. Now that the two are feeling more settled and comfortable in Canada, they are excited to engage with holiday traditions, said Singh.

Christmas is still celebrated in India, but it depends where you live, he said. Religious celebrations like Diwali are still their top priority, but Kaur says she is enjoying the traditions that come with the Christmas season.

Harmeet Singh and Manpreet Kaur with their Christmas tree. Photo provided by Singh and Kaur.

Harmeet Singh and Manpreet Kaur with their Christmas tree. Photo provided by Singh and Kaur.

“Last year, we did exchange gifts with our colleagues and friends,” said Kaur. “But over here, what we really like is that people try and put a personal touch to it, as they always put a card and write.

“We learned that last year, and this year, we’re trying to implement it as much as we can,” she said. 

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For the couple, the best part about the season is the energy around the holidays, which is similar to the excitement around Diwali in India, said Singh. For Kaur, she’s smitten with Christmas cookies. 


READ MORE:
Christmas around the world: Top carols and how different cultures view Santa Claus

“That’s really amazing because baking is not as big a deal, it’s not too common in India,” she said. “People put so much effort … I really enjoy eating those different cookies.”

Kaur says she encourages Canadians who aren’t new to the country to share traditions and customs with new immigrants to make them feel welcome and a part of the season’s celebrations.

“Tell me about the traditions, like what they do normally,” said Kaur, adding that her co-workers have made her feel involved during the holidays. “That makes me comfortable, and I’m more comfortable asking them more about what they like to do … and how do we celebrate?”

Knowing which traditions work for you

Determining which Canadian holiday traditions to take part in and which to leave behind was what Saima Jamal had to navigate when she moved to Calgary 20 years ago from Bangladesh. 

She remembers her aunt, who had been living in Canada since the 1970s, had a Christmas tree, a full turkey dinner and presents which wasn’t what she was used to being Muslim.

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“It was a good surprise, but a huge insight into how things happen in Canada,” she said, adding that she was shocked to see her cousins wearing Christmas pyjamas and opening gifts.


READ MORE:
Celebrating all cultures’ traditions the key to happy holidays, experts say

“Christmas back home was very, very different. Nobody really celebrated it, we just took a cake and went to our Christian friend’s house,” she said. 

Jamal has put up a tree before, but the tradition didn’t stick for her and her family. Today, she spends her time with the Calgary Immigrant Support Society, a non-profit she co-founded to help settle refugees. 

Depending on the needs of the refugees, sometimes volunteers have brought Christmas trees to their homes and shown them how to decorate one, she said.

They’ve also hosted potluck and community holiday dinners for specific groups, like Syrian refugees and their children, that involve a visit from Santa and gifts, she said.

“For the first time, they experienced Christmas in Canada, it makes them feel a part of Canada … like a part of the society,” she said. “It isn’t so much obviously religious, but it’s just about being part of Canadian traditions.”

Along with hosting refugees, Jamal recently organized a dinner event, along with new immigrants who have connected with the society, to feed the homeless in Calgary. That’s a tradition that’s the most rewarding, she said.

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Recent immigrants in Edmonton took part in their first Canadian Christmas celebration


Recent immigrants in Edmonton took part in their first Canadian Christmas celebration

“There are lots of immigrants who are looking out, just like Canadians, for opportunities to help out in the community around this time of year,” she said. “They’re much more well-settled to give back.”

Very recent immigrants are still figuring out what works for them when it comes to the holidays, said Jamal. She recommends connecting with those families, especially refugees, at this time of year.

“Even if you have nothing to give, if you just come over for a cup of coffee and spend an hour talking to them,” she said. “That is sometimes the best gift you can give to a newcomer.”

Creating your own traditions

Connecting with new friends in their community in Calgary is what helped Rashmeet Dhillon and her family feel more comfortable with winter and want to celebrate Christmas, she said. 

The Dhillons moved from Punjab, India to Canada almost 10 years ago when Rashmeet was 15 years old. She recalls new friends showing her how to make snow angels and their family attending holiday concerts at her sibling’s school.

“I was lucky enough to make some great friends, and they made me feel very included and part of the celebration culture,” she said. 

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For her family’s second Christmas in Canada, she and her sister convinced her parents to get a Christmas tree. The holiday wasn’t unusual for her, as in India they took part in Diwali and Christmas celebrations, even though they are Sikhs.


READ MORE:
Recent immigrants in Edmonton take part in their first Canadian Christmas celebration

“We had to start with a little one, and then two years after that, we got a bigger tree as well,” she said. “And now, every year, we make it a thing where we don’t decorate the tree by ourselves, everybody sits together.”

Now, as an adult, Dhillon has her own holiday traditions, which include inviting her friends for a potluck and wearing a Christmas cardigan to work. She is also teaching her young cousins about the festivities, especially since they love decorating their tree. 

Creating a secret Santa at work is an easy way to integrate newcomers, as it’s not a religious practice and simply involves gift-giving, she said. 

“It’s a nice tradition to start becoming a part of,” she said. “It’s creating that space to just come and enjoy it, to have a good time and have fun with no pressure. I think those are always good.”

 

Olivia.Bowden@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘McGregor-Mayweather rematch in the making’

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Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)- Fighthype.com has reported that Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are in discussions over holding a second bout.

Mayweather beat McGregor in their huge clash back in June 2017 but McGregor has hinted at a possible rematch in a post on his Instagram account.

The UFC superstar posted a cryptic post hinting at a second bout by sharing a picture of their 2017 clash and writing, “I accept.”

However, it’s uncertain as to whether a rematch between the pair would be another exhibition bout, or whether Mayweather would make it one more professional fight.

Meanwhile, YouTuber, Jake Paul, has repeatedly claimed that Mayweather still hasn’t paid him following last year’s exhibition bout. Their eight-round exhibition bout went to a draw as Mayweather was unable to knockout Paul, “Floyd Mayweather is broke. I have been saying it all the time. I think he probably spent it on the girls he pays to be around him. He’s hard to hit, but even harder to collect money from. Who should I fight next?”

However, Mayweather has since dismissed the accusations claiming that Paul has suggested that the pair should have a second exhibition bout.

“This is the guy who said he didn’t get paid, which we know is truly false, which is why I don’t entertain the bull*** a lot of the time. We know he got paid and if he didn’t get paid he wouldn’t be trying to get another payday. It is so crazy that Logan Paul wants to do an exhibition again but it is the same guy that said he didn’t get paid. It is what it is,” said Mayweather.

Mayweather was expected to earn US$64 million from the fight, with Logan receiving US$18.5 million of the purse.

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G7: Canada to elevate small Commonwealth nations' concerns – CTV News

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KIGALI, Rwanda –

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to the G7 summit in Germany on Saturday without a consensus from the Commonwealth to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to overcome the fallout of the war.

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly arrived in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Wednesday for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which has been dominated by the concerns of nations that are suffering from food scarcity. Trudeau departed for the G7 talk slater in the day.

In the final communique from the Commonwealth summit, the 54 participating countries said they discussed the conflict in Ukraine, ” underscored the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states,” and ” emphasized that all countries must seek peaceful resolution to all disputes in accordance with international law.”

The countries stopped short of condemning Russia, as Trudeau and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson have done throughout the summit.

“I can assure you that the topic of standing up for Ukraine was much discussed,” Trudeau said at a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, referencing “strong language” in the communique.

Most Commonwealth Nations condemned Russia’s actions at a United Nations vote in March, but 10 abstained. Among them was India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted not to attend the Commonwealth summit and instead spoke virtually with the leaders of Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa.

Trudeau said Russian President Vladimir Putin has run a disinformation campaign and has even been “telling outright lies,” including blaming the food security crisis on Western sanctions against Russia.

He said food shortage stems from Russia’s illegal actions, including blockade at key ports, as well as the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian grain storage facilities through cruise missile strikes.

“I was very clear with our friends and partners around the table, and not just clear on Russia’s responsibility, but on how Canada and the West are stepping up,” Trudeau said.

Canada will be raising the growing threat of famine at the G7 in Schloss Elmau Germany, Joly said.

She said Canada was in “listening mode” at the Commonwealth meetings, where leaders of smaller nations were able to speak without the dominating presence of the United States, Russia and China.

“What is clear to us is that Russia is weaponizing food and putting a toll on many countries around the world, and putting 50 million lives at risk,” Joly told reporters Friday in Rwanda.

Trudeau had attempted to meet with the chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, for several days during the Commonwealth summit but the sit-down was repeatedly postponed and eventually cancelled.

Shortly after Trudeau arrived in Rwanda, the government announced Canada would dedicate a new ambassador to the African Union, which has suffered from the food shortages inflicted on the continent as a result of the warin Ukraine.

Both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin have met with representatives of the African Union, with Russia blaming sanctions against its government for stopping the flow of grain.

At the conclusion of the Commonwealth summit, Trudeau announced $94 million in funding for various education initiatives and $120 million to support gender equality and women’s rights in Commonwealth countries.

Some of the other voices the prime minister has promised to centre at his international meetings, including the G7 summit,

belong to youth leaders who spoke at a Saturday-morning event focused on issues facing young people around the world.

Some of the delegates spoke about the devastating effects of climate change, particularly around remote island nations where infrastructure cannot withstand natural disasters and rebuilding efforts take years. The onslaught takes a toll on education and health services, one delegate told the forum.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2022.

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New federal task force to review Canada’s immigration, passport delays – Global News

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The federal government has created a special task force to help tackle the major delays with immigration applications and passport processing that have left Canadians frustrated.

In a statement announcing the new task force, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government knows the delays are unacceptable, and will continue to do everything it can to improve the delivery of the services in an efficient and timely manner.

Read more:

Passport renewal wait times now online as Ottawa looks to address long lineups

Trudeau said the new task force will help guide the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians, and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.

Ten cabinet members will spearhead the new committee, which will review how services are delivered, and identify gaps and areas for improvement.


Click to play video: 'New passport wait-time estimator shows system backlog'



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New passport wait-time estimator shows system backlog


New passport wait-time estimator shows system backlog – Jun 15, 2022

The committee will be expected to make recommendations outlining short- and longer-term solutions that would reduce wait times, clear out backlogs, and improve the overall quality of services provided.

Read more:

Canadian passport delays are frustrating travellers. What’s the fix?

In addition, the task force will monitor external issues, such as labour shortages around the world, which contribute to travel delays at home and abroad.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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