Aseel and Malak Alawad take their photo with Santa Claus at the fourth annual Let It Snow winter carnival at Festival in Red Deer Wednesday. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Carnival in Red Deer introduces newcomers to Canadian winter traditions

The event was hosted by the Central Alberta Refugee Effort and Catholic Social Services

Winter can be challenging for newcomers to Canada.

But the fourth annual Let It Snow holiday carnival, held at Festival Hall in Red Deer on Wednesday evening, showed there’s more to the winter than just the cold.

“One of our goals is to make the cold season more fun and approachable,” says Tessa Murphy, settlement practitioner with the Central Alberta Refugee Effort.

“For some of our new clients, particularly ones from warmer climates, winter can feel quite extreme, quite cold and quite isolating.”

There was an expected 200 attendees at the event, which was hosted by CARE in conjunction with Catholic Social Services.

“The goal of the event is to have a fun party, a social event to introduce newcomers to some Canadian winter traditions,” she said.

“We have a lovely volunteer Santa for our clients to meet. We have some candy cane fishing games. We have face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and those sort of things.”

Wednesday was an appropriate day to hold an event called Let It Snow, Murphy said.

“I’m sitting here looking out the window and seeing the snow fall. We hope the joy many Canadians feel with the snow falling can translate over and become a joy for new Canadians too,” said Murphy.

“I hope everybody can embrace winter and have some fun all year round. Hopefully, we can share some fun traditions that most of us commonly celebrate in Canada, whether it’s to do with weather, specific holidays, or traditions we have this time of year.”

Murphy said it’s heartwarming to see newcomers experience snowfall for the first time.

“We always have to take care of the practical things too: boots, jackets, scarves, mitts and that sort of thing. But seeing the wonder and the joy of snow is not one to be missed, for sure.”

Many newcomers are not complete strangers to certain Canadian Christmas traditions, such as Santa Claus, Murphy added.

“We don’t see a lot of confusion. I don’t know if it’s due to globalization, in the sense that Santa’s around the world.

“But we embrace something like Santa as a joyful tradition and a secular character in our life who kids love to meet and parents love to get pictures with. We don’t see confusion, maybe because we embrace it with joy.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Optimist Club of Red Deer donates to youth shelter

The Optimist Club of Red Deer has donated more than $1,800 to… Continue reading

Easter Bunny visiting central Albertans to support food banks

The Easter Bunny has been enlisted to help raise money for local… Continue reading

Home care visits continue, but with challenges

Self-isolation among home care staff means fewer to make visits

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Message from RE/MAX Commercial: What to do when ‘sorry we’re temporarily closed’ is part of your business as landlord or tenant

Do you have questions about rent reductions or deferral of lease payments? Experts can help

Lacombe Fire Department continues to serve through COVID-19

FD asks citizens to continue to comply with public health orders

Red Deer author shares tips with students

Academy of Writers by Sigmund Brouwer is now available to students through a new partnership

Landowners and legal experts criticize Alberta’s well cleanup bill

Critics say bill still doesn’t give energy companies a timeline to clean up their mess

Toronto company expands ventilator production tenfold to meet demand

Toronto-based company would produce at most 50 ventilators in a month

Most Read