It doesn’t matter where you live, Christmas is celebrated all around the world. Whether you call it Christmas or something else, the holidays are here, and so are the holiday dinners. What does Christmas dinner look like to you? What if you lived in Greenland or Mexico? Here are traditional dinners from all around the world.
Christmas Dinner: Japan
If you know anything about Japan, you already know that it’s weird. So, this quirky and new ‘traditional’ dinner should be no surprise to you. The people of Japan love to indulge in KFC for their Christmas dinner these days. Yes, KFC as in Kentucky Fried Chicken. And honestly, this has been going on for a while. In 1974, Japan KFC’s launched a Christmas menu apparently after hearing that Western expats were turning to these bargain baskets of chicken after searching unsuccessfully for a Thanksgiving turkey.
Christmas Dinner: United States
There are a lot of traditional foods for holidays in the US and although most of them revolve around a main dish and sides, there are some others that may surprise you. Some people have ‘Chinese’ Christmas, that is, they order Chinese food for their Christmas feast. Others have pizza delivered. Yup, quick and easy and really next to no dishes. However, these wouldn’t be traditional US dinners. Typically the dinner will focus on some main meat such as turkey or ham. Prime Rib is also popular along with other roasts. Sides usually consist of a green salad loaded with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and cheese. Though things like spinach salad with berries or wedge salad with tomatoes, bacon, and blue cheese may be found, too. Then there are always the desserts. This is completely dependent on the family or specific occasion but Christmas cookies of all kinds are popular. Cranberry Salad was a certainty in my family and had marshmallows, cranberries, and a cream base. The whole dessert was frozen and served as such. There could also be fruit cake, apple pie, mint Christmas trees from a box, and assorted chocolates and candy canes. Yay for holiday feasting.
Christmas Dinner: Greenland
In Greenland, it’s tradition that the men serve the women throughout the Christmas dinner. This sweet and affectionate tradition makes you wonder how the chores are divvied up throughout the year. Though, the cuisine is not exactly easy to eat, that is to say it’s strips of whale blubber encased in the whale skin. It’s called mattak and chewing threw these tough, fatty pieces is no easy feat. The men may dish it up the day of, but the women do most of the work in preparing the meal. Baby auks have to be buried into a seal-skin for several months before Christmas and then dug up once they’ve started to rot. They are then served as a delicacy. On second thought, not sure Greenland sounds like the best place to eat Christmas dinner.
Christmas Dinner: Norway
So if you grew up Norwegian in the United States, there is a good chance you were served lutefisk and lefse for Christmas dinner, and told that it was traditional Norwegian fare. But if you have a friend that lives in Norway, she will tell you the truth, that lutefisk and lefse is not common and that the people who live in Norway don’t like it either. What is common for Norwegian holiday dinners is much more palatable and there are lots of options. Ribbe is the most popular and traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner. This pork rib dish is very fatty and served with sides like sauerkraut, cabbage, patties, sausages, and potatoes. Pinnekjøtt is another favorite. It is made from ribs, lamb, or mutton that has been dried or salted. It’s served with rutabaga and thick sausages. Other meats or main dishes include Sursteik or roast beef that is marinated in sour milk for a week to 10 days. Drinks of choice are mulled wine, in Norway they call it Gløgg, though it can be made and served with or without the alcohol. Norwegians, too, have easy less dishes meals like Grandiosa, the country’s favorite type of frozen pizza. And the people of Norway are big on their sweets all year around, so you know they love them on Christmas, too. Caramel flan/pudding is a popular dinner dessert along with rice pudding or rice porridge.
Christmas Dinner: Mexico
Christmas dinner in Mexico looks different depending on the region but pozole is common on the Christmas dinner table nonetheless. This traditional stew is made with hominy and meat, usually pork. There are a lots of add-in condiment choices such as shredded cabbage, chili peppers, avocado, and lime. There are also different varieties of pozole like white, green, or red. Perfect for Christmas, well and to match the Mexican flag.
Christmas dinner looks different for everyone but it’s all about the same thing, feasting and family. It’s almost Christmas. What will your Christmas dinner table look like this year?