6 Special Christmas Food Traditions From Around The World

by Ella

No Christmas celebration is complete without indulging in delectable cuisine. While the classic image of a Christmas dinner is familiar, various unique and lesser-known food traditions take center stage in diverse corners of the world. Let’s delve into these distinctive Christmas culinary customs that add a special flavor to the festive season.

Food serves as a universal binding factor, offering a unique way to celebrate festivals and special occasions. Festivals, although celebrated globally, often showcase region-specific practices, influenced by age-old traditions and the availability of local ingredients. Here’s a glimpse into some of the most intriguing Christmas food customs observed in different countries.


China: Sharing “Peace Apples”

In China, where the Christian population celebrating Christmas is not extensive, the festival has gained popularity. A notable custom among the Chinese involves carving apples and inscribing uplifting messages on them. These “peace apples” are then shared with loved ones, presenting a delightful combination of deliciousness and emotional value.


Russia: Savoring Selyodka Pod Shuboy

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated with fervor, accompanied by unique culinary practices. A standout dish is Selyodka Pod Shuboy, an elaborate creation featuring layers of diced potatoes, carrots, beetroots, onions, and mayonnaise, topped with boiled eggs. This extravagant dish holds a special place in Russian households, adding a touch of grandeur to their Christmas celebrations.


England: Stirring Up Christmas Luck with Pudding

With a significant Christian population, England boasts a Christmas tradition dating back to the 14th century—the Christmas pudding. This porridge-like dessert, consisting of fruits, nuts, and oats, takes on a festive twist during the holiday season as it’s heavily laced with alcohol and then boiled or steamed. Families partake in the tradition of stirring the pudding together, believing it brings good luck, sometimes incorporating silver coins or wishbones for added symbolism.


Norway: Delighting in Smalahove

In Norway, the festive season sees the preparation of Smalahove, a dish featuring sheep’s head served with potatoes, onions, and rutabaga. Traditionally enjoyed before Christmas, this indulgent meal is marked by meticulous cooking of the sheep’s head, showcasing authentic Norwegian culinary culture and specific eating rituals.

South Africa: Seasonal Delicacy – Mopane Worms

While not inherently associated with Christmas, Mopane Worms are widely consumed in South Africa, particularly during the holiday season due to their seasonal availability. Fried with onions, tomatoes, and chilies, these worms, initially consumed out of necessity, are now appreciated for their rich nutritional content.

Italy: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

In Italy, especially among Roman Catholics, a unique tradition known as “the feast of the seven fishes” unfolds just before Christmas. Though not an official event in the Catholic calendar, this feast, symbolizing the biblical significance of the number seven, is observed on Christmas Eve. Various seafood and fish dishes take center stage during this celebration, a tradition that originated in Southern Italy and later gained popularity across the country and even in America.

These diverse and exciting Christmas food customs worldwide not only tantalize the taste buds but also bear profound cultural significance, making the festive season truly special in each corner of the globe.



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