Liturgies for the Season of Christmas

Alberta is the westernmost of Canada's three Prairie provinces. It was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and became a province of Canada in 1905. Its population of some 2.3 million people have come from virtually all corners of the world with substantial communities from western and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The living cultural tradition of the people of Alberta characteristically consist of several layers. Commonly, one will find the remnants of folk tradition along with a religious tradition which has taken root and been institutionalised in Western Canada. Roman Catholic and Protestant cultural forms have also been at play in communities beyond their cultural boundaries. The national cultural identity of Western Canada consists of a mixture of British and American forms with the occasional traces of French cultural forms and values.

There is a great variety of religious services animating the Christmas season. Some draw on the Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus telling the story in a dramatic presentation. The children's procession with the infant Jesus at Saint Joachim's, Edmonton's oldest French Catholic parish, sets the drama in motion. At Saint Anthony's Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the eve of Christmas begins with a communal Holy Supper and moves to the Vesper service for the Feast of the Incarnation. For many Swedes and Norwegians, the early morning of December 13 is filled with light and the memory of the gifts of the Sun and of the Son of God when the eldest girl dons a crown of candles and becomes Saint Lucia. For the Greeks of Vancouver, the Nativity feast culminates in the Feast of Theophany on January 6th.