How Cultures Celebrate Christmas Around Their Dinner Table
Christmas may be celebrated all over the world, but how Christmas is celebrated varies from culture to culture. Everyone has their favorite traditions whether it be starting the morning off with coffee and cake, decorating your home with colorful lights, caroling, telling classic Christmas stories, or perhaps celebrating on a day other than December 25th. Although there may be different traditions around the world, each culture has one thing in common, food. Food plays such an important role during the holidays, bringing friends and family together to celebrate and congregate. Here we take a look at some tasty holiday traditions from around the world.
Britain- Yorkshire Pudding
Fun Fact: It is tradition to serve Christmas crackers to each guest on Christmas Day which is a small tube covered in foil and twisted at the ends to resemble a candy. Everybody crosses their arms and uses their right hand to pull the top of their neighbor’s cracker off. With a loud pop, you are given either a joke to read at the dinner table or a small gift and a paper crown that they wear throughout dinner. Everybody is a King on Christmas!
For the British, it is the perfect Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding that gets served at their Christmas dinner table. Yorkshire pudding is a batter made out of eggs, flour, and milk that is then baked and served with gravy.
Drink of choice: Buck’s Fizz for breakfast similar to the American Mimosa!
Fun Fact: Norwegians name for Santa Claus is ‘Julenissen.’
In Norway, their lunch on Christmas day is the traditional Grotris, a rice pudding with brown sugar and butter. They add one almond to the mix and whoever gets the almond wins a marzipan pig, a confectionary that means good luck.
Drink of choice: Akvavit- A Norwegian liquor made out of herbs and spices such as caraway or dill
Fun Fact: The most original Venezuelan custom is to display a Nacimiento, a Nativity Scene.
Hallacas are the chosen dish for Christmas dinner in Venezuela. They are similar to a traditional corn tamale, stuffed with beef, pork, and chicken, decorated with raisins, capers, olives.
Drink of choice: Ponche Crema Venezuelan Egg Nog
France- Buche de Noel
Fun Fact: Up until recently, France held the Guinness world record for the largest Yule log measuring 681.76 feet.
In many French Colonies, it is common to serve a traditional yule cake after Christmas Dinner. The French Yule cake is a traditional sponge cake covered in chocolate or coffee buttercream made to look like bark to honor the ancient tradition of burning the yule log.
Drink of choice: The Kir Royale a mixture of champagne and creme de cassis
Poland- Fried Carp
Fun Fact: The Christmas Celebrations begin on Christmas Eve where families gather for a Christmas meal. It is tradition to sit at the table as soon as the first star in the winter sky is spotted.
No matter what region you are in, you will always find fried carp on the Polish Christmas Table.
Drink of Choice: Kompot a punch made of dried fruits
Sweden- Janssons Frestelse
Fun Fact: For dessert, the Swedish serve up a rice pudding with an almond hidden in the mixture. It is said that the person who finds the almond is to be the next to marry within the next year.
The Swedish gather on Christmas Eve for “Christmas table” which is a buffet of Christmas food known as a smorgasbord. A staple that can be found at every table is Janssons Frestelse, which is a casserole that consists of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, bread crumbs, and cream.
Drink of Choice: Glogg a mulled wine popular in Scandinavian countries.
Mexico- Bacalao and Romeritos
Fun Fact: In Mexican culture, instead of waking up on December 25th to find presents, children arise on January 6th, Three Kings Day, to open their gifts.
Mexicans enjoy Bacalao, a traditional cod fish dish that is dried and cooked with different herbs and spices, served with a side of Romeritos, which are sprigs of a wild plant known as seepweed.
Drink of Choice: Ponche a Mexican punch made with a variety of fruit.
The holidays are such a special time and no matter how you celebrate Christmas. Remember to carry out your traditions this holiday season, and don’t forget to explore some new ones!