In the UK we all very much look forward to Christmas roasts with our family. The table decked out with turkey, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and more yummy foods. However, every culture has its own traditions and we’ve set out to discover how people do Christmas dinner around the world.
-In the U.S, their main meat is generally either ham or roast beef, seeing as turkey is eaten at Thanksgiving, and brussels sprouts, chipolatas and Christmas pudding are noticeably absent! However it’s probably one of the most similar dinners to the UK, still including the popular stuffing (or ‘dressing’), mashed potatoes and gravy, squash and roasted root vegetables. Their desserts can include pumpkin, pecan pie or coconut cake, and Eggnog for an evening drink.
– A very popular holiday destination for brits is Spain, but celebrating Christmas there may be very different to what we are used to. Their typical starters include lots of seafood dishes such as Sopa de Pescado y Marisco (Fish and Shellfish Soup) and Romesco Seafood Pasta Salad. Their main course, also known as segundo Plato, consists of beef, lamb, poultry or game served with rice or potatoes. A mixed green salad is also offered to compliment the heavier dishes. Just one of the options they have for dessert is Mantecados, which are crumble cakes that no household goes without at Christmas time! Their night finishes off very similar to many others, with a hot espresso coffee or a glass of ‘Cava’ Spanish sparkling wine.
– In the Czech Republic, Christmas dinner is eaten on the evening of the 24th. Throughout the day sweet bread with raisins and almonds called ‘Vanocka’ is served. But the main staple of a Czech Christmas dinner is the fried Christmas carp, along with a potato salad. Cookies are extremely popular at Christmas time in this European country, ranging from spicy ginger cookies to vanilla crescent rolls. They are cooked and decorated with plenty of time to spare and some are used to decorate the tree.
– Greenland’s Christmas dinner could be described as one of the most unique, with one of their main dishes being ‘Mattak’ which is whale skin with a lining of blubber. Another being ‘Kiviak’ which is the raw skin of an auk (little arctic bird) which is wrapped in seal skin and buried for months until reaching an advanced stage of decomposition. Popular desserts include berries and apples with a crisp topping and several types of Danish pastries.
– On the other side of the world, Australia celebrates Christmas day in the heart of summer. Because of the high temperatures, some of the typical meats like turkey, ham and chicken are served cold with cranberry sauce, along with salads and roast vegetables. Many people also make use of their BBQ on Christmas day! A very common dessert is Pavlova or trifle, accompanied by a lot of fresh fruit.
– Much like the Czech Republic, Peruvians eat their Christmas dinner on the 24th and it includes roast turkey served with garlic seasoned rice. Roast potatoes, apple puree and a range of salads are also included. Their dessert is most commonly a fruit cake which originates from Italy called Panettone. Whilst enjoying this; children have a warm hot chocolate with cinnamon and cloves, and adults have a glass of champagne to celebrate the event.
– Christmas is not seen as a national holiday in Japan, but for those who celebrate it, one fundamental element for Christmas is their Christmas cake! It’s a white sponge covered with cream and decorated with strawberries. A rather strange tradition for Christmas time in Japan is eating KFC. After a popular advertising campaign in the 1970’s, eating chicken at Christmas has become a national custom, it has gotten to the extent that KFC now take reservations months in advance.
– Despite being summer at Christmas time, South Africa’s Christmas dinner has many similarities to the UK. The meal is either turkey, duck or roast beef, with mince pies, suckling pig and yellow rice & raisins with vegetables. Their pudding is a traditional South African dessert called Malva Pudding. Unlike the UK their meals tend to be eaten outside in the sun but the table does get decorated with Christmas crackers!
– In Armenia, the tradition is to fast the week before Christmas, or abstain from eating meat; this is in order to receive the Eucharist on a pure stomach. They have a festive dinner on Christmas Eve which comprises of rice, fish, nevik (green chard and chick peas) and a yoghurt soup called tanabur. Desserts are very light, including dried fruits and nuts or bastukh, a dessert made of grape jelly, corn-starch and flour. This smaller meal makes way for the bigger Christmas dinner with friends and family on the 25th, which is typically lamb and rice.
– Greece is becoming a more and more popular holiday destination during the summer, and their Christmas traditions may just start enticing people to spend their Christmas there! The main Christmas meal is often Lamb or pork, roasted in an oven or over an open spit. It’s generally served with spinach and cheese pie and various salads and vegetables. A popular Christmas dessert is melomakarono, an oblong shaped biscuit/cake made from flour, olive oil, and honey then rolled in chopped walnuts.
How do you do Christmas dinner? We’d love to know! Leave your comments below or send us a message on Twitter or Facebook