14th Day of Advent

Gift of Food

December 12, 2020

For Christians the world over, Christmas is a time to celebrate joy on the birthday of Jesus Christ, and food plays a big role.  Here in the United States, traditional Christmas meals usually consist of a turkey or a roast, a glass of eggnog, and plenty of festive cookies. But what does it look like across the globe?  Here is a glimpse at traditional Christmas dishes from around the world.  Who knows, maybe you will be inspired to try something new.  

  • In Australia, first off it is summer so often very hot.  It is not unheard of to have Christmas dinner on the beach.  The traditional meal often consist of a turkey dinner with ham and pork. Mince pies and a flaming Christmas plum pudding are frequently part of the dessert. A small favor is baked inside the plum pudding. Whoever finds this trinket is believed to be blessed with good luck.
  • In Finland, the community cut pine boughs and pile them in a long, green carpet from the top of a hill to the center of the village. This carpet is for the Christ Child. They eat a special Saint Stephen's Day porridge on Christmas Day. Cookies are an important Scandinavian Christmas treat.   They also give food to birds at Christmas, since all the seeds, nuts and insects are covered with snow.  In many areas, the people will not begin their own Christmas meal until the birds have first been feed.
  • Germany is believed to have orginated many of our Christmas traditions - most notable the introduction of the Christmas Tree (aka Tannenbaum). In German, it is believed that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night. Dishes as suckling pig, Reisbrei (a sweet cinnamon), white sausage, macaroni salad and many regional dishes are on hand, should anyone feel the need to partake of a snack after their traditional dinner.
  • In Greece, carols are usually sung by small boys to the beating of drums and the tinkling of triangles. They go from house to house and are rewarded with dried figs, almonds, walnuts, sweets.  On Christmas Eve, groups of people gather around the holiday table to feast upon figs which have been dried on rooftops, served with spicy, golden Chrisopsomo bread, and such sweets as kourambiethe, a Greek nut cookie. 
  • In Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, two weeks before Christmas, they plant seeds (chick peas, wheat, beans and lentils) in cotton wool.  They water the seeds every day and by Christmas they are about six inches high.  These shoots are used to surround the manger in Nativity scenes. On Christmas day, lunch is the most important seasonal meal, usually consisting of chicken and rice and Kubbeh, which is made of crushed boiled wheat and mixed with meat, onion, salt and pepper.
  • In the Philippines, Christmas officially starts on December 16, with a nine-day series of services called Simbang Gabi, with some starting as early as 3am. Christmas Eve or Noche Buena marks the ninth day, and most Filipinos celebrate with a thanksgiving meal at midnight. Dessert is often flan and puto bumbong, which is a rice, coconut milk and sugar poured into a bamboo tube and then steamed, and it’s served hot with grated coconut, butter and sugar.


Can you guess with picture goes with which country?

What's your favorite Christmas food tradition?