A son might be named after his father or grandfather, for instance; a daughter for her aunt or cousin.Middle names in particular are very often chosen this way.

Along with pointy party hats, the most common birthday tradition is giving the birthday boy or girl a large cake with candles.

Friends sing the special birthday song ("Happy Birthday to You"), then the birthday kid will try to blow out all the flames in one gust. During childhood, most parents will arrange birthday parties for their children on their special day (or the closest available weekend), a fun excuse for the birthday boy or girl to gather up all their schoolyard buddies and spend the whole afternoon hanging out.

Since Canadian kids tend to be fairly spoiled these days, the organization and planning of children’s birthday parties has actually become something of a grueling and expensive assignment for many parents; parties are now often expected to include a visit somewhere entertaining, such as the bowling alley, swimming pool, or movie theatre, as well as a full meal for all the guests.

By global standards, Canada is not a country with many flashy, folkloric traditions — which isn’t to say none exist.

In general, it’s the aging process, and the various “key dates” that occur as one moves steadily from adolescence to adulthood that tend to be the most celebrated and ritualized moments in mainstream Canadian culture, with each important date home to its own rich array of customs.

Canadian traditions also tend to be closely tied to the country’s national holidays, which we discuss in more detail in that chapter.It should likewise be acknowledged that since Canada is a country of considerable diversity born from the eclectic immigrant heritage of its people, the traditions of individual Canadian families can vary greatly based on which customs they’ve decided to import from their former homeland.Pregnancy and childbirth is often considered an opportunity for excited celebration in Canadian culture, particularly amongst young women who may still regard pregnancy as something of novelty.Canadian couples will generally announce their pregnancy with great pride to friends and family as soon as they’re aware, and it’s common for girlfriends of the expecting mother to organize a baby shower - a small, lighthearted house party – to honour the new mom sometime before she gives birth.Shortly after the child is born, it’s similarly customary for friends of the parents to give at least one baby gift, usually a toy or clothes, to express congratulations.When it comes to naming the baby, it’s a relatively common (but by no means universal) Canadian tradition for children to be given names from within the family.