Americans love their turkey, stuffing and mashed potato Christmas meal. But surprisingly enough, what seems traditional to us, is foreign to other cultures. You’ll be amazed at how different holiday meals and traditions vary from every country or culture. From shrimp to rice porridge, get stuffed with holiday meals found around the world.
December is one of the hottest months of the year. It is common for those who dive and spear fish to catch Christmas dinner that morning with a fresh caught lobster, shrimp or fish. While the shrimp cooks on the barbie, Aussies may snack on cold ham or turkey slices. And they always save room for pavlova, a meringue filled dessert filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
The “Julbord” or Christmas Smorgasbord is sure to put a smile on holiday favorites. A popular Swedish side dish includes Jansson’s Frestelse. This creamy potato, onion and anchovy casserole is a Christmas favorite and traditionally made with the fish, sprat. “Kuttbullar” (Swedish meatballs), “Knack” (Christmas toffee) and “Julost” (Christmas cheese) are other Swedish delicatessen are traditional and popular holiday foods.
Farmers often purchase lambs in advance to get them nice and plump for Christmas dinner. Yebeg Wot is a thick and buttery lamb stew served with Ethiopian flatbread, injera. Spiced with berbere, this is one African dish to taste.
Throughout tradition, locals would celebrate Christmas with the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” This includes seven seafood dishes with fish coming from the southern Italian seas. Some fish is included in the Christmas Eve dinner enjoyed with fresh vegetables.
Riisipuuro is porridge cooked with rice and milk and topped with cinnamon, butter and dried plum soup. On Christmas morning someone in the house is surprised with an almond pudding; legend has it the recipient’s wish will come true, or they’ll get married soon.
Fluffy fruitcake is what Portugal is all about on Christmas. Known as Bolo-Rei, or “King Cake,” is commonly topped with jelly, creams, nuts, or crystallized fruit. This staple dessert is eaten between December 25th and January 6th.
Buche de Noel is a classic French dessert, representing a log roll filled with cream. The dessert originates from ancient Celtic tradition to celebrate the winter solstice. The branch-inspired cake-pastry is served after dinner on Christmas.
Elizabeth is a fitness professional, workshop presenter and freelance writer. She is an active traveler who treks the globe looking for interesting stories to write and places to photograph. Her most significant travel achievements include living and volunteering in Australia twice and studied yoga in India.