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New Year's Eve in Canada

Quick Facts

New Year's Eve is the last day of the year and the day before New Year's Day. New Year's Eve in Canada always falls on December 31 according to the Gregorian calendar.

Local names

NameLanguage
New Year's EveEnglish
la Saint-SylvestreFrench
SilvesterGerman

New Year's Eve 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015
List of dates for other years

New Year's Eve is a day of reflection of the past year's events and a time to prepare for the New Year. It is also the last day of the Canadian tax year. Many people attend special parties or other events to mark the end of one year and the start of the next one.

Fireworks over the Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal, Canada.

©iStockphoto.com/EasyBuy4u

What do people do?

On New Year's Eve, social gatherings of all sizes are organized to mark the end of one year and the start of the next. These range from small parties with family members and a few good friends in private homes to huge street parties with live entertainment, music, dancing and even public fireworks. Many events start in the middle of the evening on December 31 and continue into the early hours of January 1.

Some people mark the stroke of midnight by opening bottles of champagne or sparkling wine and drinking a toast to the New Year and the health of everyone present. Others take a short vacation to enjoy Canada's natural beauty at its wintry best or to take part in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. In rural areas in northern Canada, particularly in Quebec, some people spend all night on a frozen lake with a group of good friends and fish through holes in the ice.

Public life

December 31 is not a public holiday and in general post offices, stores and other businesses are open. However, they may close earlier than usual. Bars, restaurants and clubs may have special opening hours and different entrance policies to usual. Public transit services usually run as usual in the morning and early afternoon but may offer a reduced service or close down completely in the late afternoon or early evening. In some large cities, there may be extra transport services late in the evening on December 31 and the early hours of January 1 to enable people to return home from New Year celebrations safely.

Background

In Europe, the darkest part of winter has been a time of celebration with displays of fire, evergreen plants and nature's bounty since pre-Christian times.  When many inhabitants of Europe were converted to Christianity, these festivals were merged with Christian beliefs and in time came to mark Christmas and the New Year. When European settlers came to Canada, they brought these customs with them and their celebrations evolved into the events seen today.

Symbols

Symbols of New Year’s Eve include images of Canada's winter landscape, winter sports, champagne bottles, and some New Year fireworks are in the form of traditional symbols associated with Canada, such as the maple leaf.

About New Year's Eve in other countries

Read more about New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
MonDec 311990New Year's EveObservance 
TueDec 311991New Year's EveObservance 
ThuDec 311992New Year's EveObservance 
FriDec 311993New Year's EveObservance 
SatDec 311994New Year's EveObservance 
SunDec 311995New Year's EveObservance 
TueDec 311996New Year's EveObservance 
WedDec 311997New Year's EveObservance 
ThuDec 311998New Year's EveObservance 
FriDec 311999New Year's EveObservance 
SunDec 312000New Year's EveObservance 
MonDec 312001New Year's EveObservance 
TueDec 312002New Year's EveObservance 
WedDec 312003New Year's EveObservance 
FriDec 312004New Year's EveObservance 
SatDec 312005New Year's EveObservance 
SunDec 312006New Year's EveObservance 
MonDec 312007New Year's EveObservance 
WedDec 312008New Year's EveObservance 
ThuDec 312009New Year's EveObservance 
FriDec 312010New Year's EveObservance 
SatDec 312011New Year's EveObservance 
MonDec 312012New Year's EveObservance 
TueDec 312013New Year's EveObservance 
WedDec 312014New Year's EveObservance 
ThuDec 312015New Year's EveObservance 
SatDec 312016New Year's EveObservance 
SunDec 312017New Year's EveObservance 
MonDec 312018New Year's EveObservance 
TueDec 312019New Year's EveObservance 
ThuDec 312020New Year's EveObservance 

Related holidays

Other holidays in December 2014 in Canada

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