Christmas is celebrated all over the world and so naturally there’s an array of different Christmas culinary traditions throughout the globe. We know that it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who eat something other than turkey for their Christmas dinner, but that’s just how it is! The good news is that some of these Christmas traditions are truly wonderful and may even give the good old-fashioned Christmas turkey a run for its money! Here at NetCost Market, we’re going to show you some of the best Christmas traditions from around the world!
Kūčios – Lithuania
Kūčios is a meal that consists of an assortment of dishes, usually exactly 12, 1 for each apostle. No meat or dairy is included in the meal, but it is often fish based and it is traditionally prepared by the whole family as a social event. Dishes you may expect to see include herring served in tomatoes, smoked eel, potatoes, sauerkraut, traditional Lithuanian bread, and cranberry pudding. As with many mainland European countries, Lithuania celebrates Christmas on the 24th of December.
Christmas Pudding – United Kingdom
Lots of the Christmas traditions we have here in the US originate from the UK, but one that didn’t really make it over is the Christmas pudding. This rich and indulgent pudding is made using dried fruits, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, molasses, suet, and egg. They are often made and hung to dry, sometimes for weeks at a time to let the flavors develop, and then they are doused with brandy or rum and set on fire just before serving! How bizarre!
Joulupöytä – Finland
In Finland, they like to go Buffet style for their Christmas meal with plenty of delicious cold meats, cured fish, pickled vegetables, salads, and casseroles. It may seem strange that such a cold country would choose to have a cold Christmas meal, but there you are! Typical dishes include classic pickled herring, mushroom salad, and Karelian stew. For dessert, the Fins like to indulge in gingerbread and rice pudding!
Sochelnik in Russia
The holy supper in Russia is known as Sochelnik, and it usually consists of a meatless meal as the advent is typically a time of fasting in the Russian Orthodox Church. Much like the Lithuanian tradition, the Russians typically eat 12 courses which represent the 12 apostles.
Sviat Vechir in Ukraine
The Christmas Eve is called ‘Sviaty Vechir’ (Holy Evening) or ‘Sviata Vecheria’ (Holy Supper) in Ukraine. It occurs in January, and it is a time of treasured traditions and family gatherings. Classic dishes include kutya (a grain and honey-based pudding), pickled vegetables and fish, meatless borscht and baked goods such as Bobal’ki, Pampushky, and Makivnyk.
Crusty Baked Pasta – Sicily
On the Italian island of Sicily, they couldn’t have a more Italian approach to Christmas! One of the stranger, yet surprisingly delicious dishes, is crusty baked pasta. Pasta and a rich pork sauce are baked in a breadcrumb-lined pan and then turned out like a cake to be served. Although it sounds like it could be an improvised student meal, you can trust the Italian intuition when it comes to food because the result is a truly rich and flavorful Christmas dish!
Christmas brings people together no matter which region you happen to be in but taking a look at the wonderful array of different Christmas dishes from across the globe reminds us that there are some wonderful culinary delights that we may be missing out on! If you feel like a change from the traditional Christmas turkey this year, why not get creative with some Russian Sochelnik or Finnish Joulupöytä for a change? You might just find your new favorite Christmas meal! Head to NetCost Market to see how we can help you make this year’s Christmas meal one to remember!