Joy to the world Enjoy the magic of the holidays with family, food, music, and play

I’m thrilled to join at such a special time of year. As you’ll discover in this issue we are entering a time when families gather to celebrate their traditions. Let the joy of the holidays begin!

What I love the most about our Halifax community are the things we have in common: food, family, music, and play resonate with us all. These are the fibres that weave us together regardless of what holiday your family celebrates.

Our girls started school last year for the first time. Our youngest daughter was in junior primary and our eldest in senior primary, so it was the first year either of them participated in a holiday concert; they were bursting at the seams to put on a show for us.

The concert far exceeded my expectations. When I was young our school concerts were filled with Christmas carols, the re-enactment of the Christian nativity story, along with other well-known winter jingles. But this was not the case for our girls.

The diversity and backgrounds of the children who entertained us far outnumbered that of my childhood. The Grade 1 class alone spoke 14 different languages, reflecting their variety of cultures and backgrounds.

The songs they sang, the skits they performed, and the diversity of the religious celebrations represented a true global perspective. They sang songs of spinning dreidels, they recited poems that captured the joy of winter, they sang many songs in French. One class performed a traditional Russian dance, and at the break we were served baklava and dallam (Arabic coffee).

It was refreshing to see how multicultural Halifax and Nova Scotia have become. In this issue, I’m delighted to bring some of these cultures and traditions to light. In the story “Nourishing traditions,” journalist Heidi Tattrie-Ruston explores foods associated with several cultural celebrations. Heidi also enlightens on “Diversity in the holidays” where she invites us to learn more about the multicultural traditions that families celebrate right here at home that may be different from our own.

I hope we inspire you and your families to get out and play in our winter wonderland. Our First Bell section is brimming with ideas for you to infuse joy into the coming months, from rolling your sleeves up and tackling the Rubik’s Cube at the Discovery Centre, to taking in a fantastical play at Neptune Theatre, to cheering on our hometown hockey heroes at the Scotiabank Centre, Heather Laura Clarke gives you lots of activities to keep you entertained.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

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