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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

Christmas Foods from Around The World

By Skyllar Hodges - Eagle Staff Writer


Christmas is a well-known holiday around the world and is widely celebrated throughout many countries. Most countries have their own unique traditions for Christmas including what they eat and do. Here are a few examples of how they might celebrate and what they eat. I made all of the dishes to be able to taste each dish, and it was a fun experience. The tastiest dish was the Pryaniki, while the hardest dish to make was the Yule Log because of the steps and icing it.

Fried Cod Fritters and White Rice

In Brazil Christmas celebrations are primarily on Christmas Eve, which is on December 24th. The majority of Brazilians are Catholic, so their night is filled with midnight mass and large family gatherings with lots of food and presents. One of their main Christmas dishes is Fried Cod Fritters with white rice. The fritters are very crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. There are hints of spices like parsley and nutmeg and a slight fish flavor. The white rice is a good source of healthy carbs and helps cleanse the palate with each bite.



Pryaniki - Russian Spice Cookie



In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th because the Orthodox Christians follow the Julian Calendar. The Orthodox fast until the first star appears in the night sky on January 6th (Christmas Eve). They also partake in fortune-telling, and sing carols. One of their best-known Christmas desserts is Russian Spice Cookies, otherwise known as Pryaniki. They are baked with a variety of spices which includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Then a glaze is dripped over top of them creating a delicious cookie that has hints of spice and is a bit sweet.


Melomakarona





In Greece, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th with a full week itinerary. Their main traditions include decorating their homes for the holiday, decorating the boat, eating St. Basil's cake, and having a feast on January 1st. A fun fact about their Christmas is that they don't give presents; instead Christmas day is filled with many delicious treats like a honey and walnut cookie called a Melomakarona. This cookie is a soft and gooey sugar cookie base with honey, walnuts, and spices.



Bûche De Noël - Yule Log









In France, Réveillon is a large feast the French holds on the 24th that is usually very long and contains a lot of dishes. As for traditions, many kids leave their shoes by the fireplaces so Father Christmas will leave presents, families hang mistletoe for good luck, and they have nativity scenes as well. One of the most famous Christmas dishes that is served is a Bûche de Noël, or a Yule Log. This is a rich chocolate cake with a mascarpone whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache. It also can be garnished with cranberries and rosemary as well.



Potato Latkes









In Israel, Jews have their own December holiday called Hanukkah. This year it will take place from December 7 - December 15 where they celebrate the recovery of Jerusalem. The families give gifts through the holiday, one a day, while also lighting the menorah, which is a 7 branched candle holder used to symbolize the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Other traditions include concerts, markets, parades, church services, and other events. A very famous dish in Israel are potato latkes, which symbolize the oil associated with Hanukkah and lighting the menorah. They are mashed potatoes that are fried creating a crunchy outside and a gooey inside.



KFC - Fried Chicken







In Japan, Christmas has only been celebrated for the past few decades and isn't a religious holiday for them. They celebrate Christmas the same day we do, December 25th, by giving Christmas cards, presents, spreading the magic of Santa for the kids, spending time with family and friends, and sing a christmas carol that has been acustom to them since WW II called, "Ode to Joy." Many Japanese residents of Tokyo visit Tokyo Disneyland to see the christmas decorations and watch the parade all throughout November and December. It is a known tradition in Japan to eat out for Christmas and get takeout, especially from KFC because of the busyness of the holiday and everyone is closed for Christmas. Millions of families rush to their local KFC to order buckets of fried chicken for Christmas Eve. This is the typical meal for every family in Japan.



Cabbage Rolls

In Poland, Christmas is celebrated on December 6th with a lot of preparation in advance. They go through a time called Advent where they clean and avoid excess drinking, food, and parties. Instead, they try to remind themselves of the real reason for Christmas. They focus on their religion and being peaceful with one another. They begin a fast on Christmas Eve, and then have a large feast on Christmas Day. The fast is broken when the meal begins, at the sight of the first star of the night. This is to represent the star of Bethleham. During the feast, 12 dishes are placed on the table to give them good luck for the next 12 months as well as to represent the 12 disciples. One of the many dishes that are on the table on Christmas Day are cabbage rolls. They are cabbage leaves rolled with a mixture of beef, rice, and onions on a bed of tomato juice. This savory dish is just one of many used to celebrate the Christmas Season.




Whether feasting on latkes, cabbage rolls, fried chicken, or a yule log, holiday traditions across the world involving special food bring people together. In each culture, a focus on food, family and togetherness gives people plenty to celebrate.



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