Common Holiday Dishes From Different Cultures


Photo obtained through Google Images.

Latkes are commonly prepared for Hanukkah celebrations.

Major holidays, such as the New Year and Christmas, are celebrated around the world with food traditions. But with the holidays quickly approaching along with our cravings for our own holiday foods increasing, we forget to think about how different the dinner table can look around the rest of the world. Similar to the different ways to celebrate these holidays in different cultures and countries, the food eaten can also be quite different and unique. 

Depending on where you live and what you celebrate, the food you eat during the holidays can represent the different culture’s beliefs and values as they are special and passed down through generations. Before you celebrate the new year, here is a glimpse of what some holiday foods look like around the world. 


Many of the foods traditionally eaten during Hanukkah are fried in oil to celebrate the Jewish holiday. This recognizes a miracle documented in The Old Testament, a representation that the Second Temple kept the Menorah burning with oil for eight days. Latkes are potato cakes fried in oil and are made in many forms. In Isreal, Latkes are one of the most recognizable holiday foods and are often served with a sweet topping such as applesauce. Other food traditions served in Israel during Hannakah include fried donuts and fritters. 


Your European family members and ancestors are no strangers to this holiday dessert. However you choose to call it, whether it’s plum pudding, figgy pudding or Christmas pudding, this dessert is the major food tradition in England. This pudding delicacy, celebrated in England, is a key tradition in many households around the United Kingdom during the holiday season. As families have their own recipe passed down through generation, there is usually not just one recipe. But, typically, ingredients include dried fruits, molasses, eggs and a type of suet. Another common Christmas time food in England is minced pies. Since the fighters brought back spices such as nutmeg from the Crusades in the early 13th century, pies filled with spices and minced meat have been enjoyed during the holidays.


Celebrating traditions that are almost unbreakable, the Greeks are very serious about the holidays. Melomakarona, tiny cookies that are soaked in honey and topped with walnuts, were specifically created for Christmas. They are especially sweet and are served after families have finished fasting, which makes them even more of a special treat. The cookies take a lot of time and skill to prepare and are sacred to the Christmas tradition in Greece. 


Considered a breakfast pastry, the Philippines begin their holiday morning with a bibingka. Topped with an egg, some cheese or coconut shavings, this semi-sweet treat is made in rice flour and coconut milk and baked in a terracotta pot lined with banana leaves. In the Philippines, the holiday often ended with a cured pork leg or spit-roasted pig as the main course dish. The dinner is often served with fruit salad, pasta, queso de bola (a ball of cheese) and lumpia (spring rolls). 

If it’s one thing everyone collectively loves about the holiday season, it’s uniting and eating food. No matter what food you eat during the holidays, food traditions create anticipation and lasting memories.