Food is an important part of Christmas regardless of where you celebrate it.
Christmas food traditions from around the world vary dramatically. However, in almost every culture it is impossible to celebrate without some form of a special culinary dish.
Whenever we are travelling, there is one conversational topic that everyone enjoys –– food.
As humans, we share a commonality of enjoying food together as a group and Christmas is the epicentre of that celebration in a lot of cultures.
The time and effort that goes into the preparation and presentation of most dishes takes whomever is in the kitchen the majority of the day. As we go through this list of Christmas food traditions from around the world, we can aim to understand the important role that food plays in ceremonial traditions around the world.
Christmas food traditions from around the world
As we talked about in the Christmas traditions from around the world blog, the Philippines has one of the largest Christmas celebrations in the world, and that celebration would not be complete without a roast pig.
The roast pig is decorated with fruit, vegetables and sometimes even flowers, a very beautiful site to see. In the Philippines, people celebrate food as a language of love, affection and family prestige.
In Brazil, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve and in true Brazillian style, the party often lasts until well into Christmas day. In Brazil, meat is a large portion of most meals and that stands true for Christmas dinner. Ham, roast turkey and sometimes beef are accompanied with many fresh sides including seasoned kale, nuts, fruit salads, vegetable salads and cold rice dishes.
Greenland celebrates with some very unique dishes for Christmas including ‘Mattak’, which is whale skin served raw in small slices. Other traditions include raw fish and ‘saasat’, which is a traditional stew made with roast meat of sorts, as well as lamb, reindeer, pork or duck. Greenland gets very cold in the winter months, and most dishes are made to keep you feeling warm and satisfied.
As we mentioned in the Christmas traditions from around the world blog, Japan likes to celebrate Christmas day with a Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner bucket. The fried chicken bucket is complete with dessert and drinks. The popularity of this tradition has grown dramatically over the years, and folks are encouraged to book their Christmas buckets in advance to ensure their feast.
Polish traditions celebrate Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. There are typically 12 dishes that reflect the 12 apostles and the 12 months in the year. All of these dishes are meat free and typically include fish, carp, vegetable soup, perogies and a beautiful assortment of baked goods as the desert. The dinner usually lasts all night, taking some breaks for Christmas presents and games.
Similarly to the Christmas food traditions of Poland, the Italians do not eat meat at their main Christmas meal. Some Italians have their main meal on Christmas Eve and others on Christmas day. The meal is typically filled with lots of seafood and of course pasta. For dessert, and as a gift to friends and family, Panettone is a popular choice. This sweet bread is served with espresso to cap off the night.
In Switzerland families often gather for a fondue-style dinner on Christmas Eve. The fondue is accompanied by vegetables and a charcuterie platter with lots of snacks to enjoy as you socialize on this special night. Alternatively, families enjoy a roast ham and cheese potatoes for Christmas Eve dinner. The tradition varies from family to family, sometimes even alternating traditions each year.
Since Christmas in Australia marks the beginning of summer holidays, a BBQ tradition seems very fitting. Families and friends gather outdoors to socialize and celebrate the holiday over a BBQ which includes fish, prawns, lobster and lots of salad dishes. A more casual style of dinner is very typical in Australia and typically served in the late afternoon.
What is your favourite dish to prepare for Christmas?
We challenge you to try one of the dishes above this Christmas. Whether you are preparing the dish from a Google recipe or travelling to the traditional location, there is something special about enjoying Christmas food traditions from around the world at this wonderful time of year.
If you have any questions about the destinations listed above, please contact our Travel Specialists, as they would be more than happy to help!