We’ve reached that special time of year where – once again – Wham have taken over the radio stations, the mince pies are in full flow and the Christmas celebrations have already commenced. The countdown to the big day has officially begun! But, as Christmas closely creeps around the corner, the pinnacle of all this excitement and the most anticipated moment for most of us has to boil down to that long-awaited Christmas dinner feast.
The once-a-year treat where we feel no guilt in piling our plate high with crispy roasties, Yorkshire puds, juicy turkey and even the odd sprout too (since it is Christmas after all). We delicately prepare our turkey dinners, set fire to our brandy-drenched Christmas puddings and proudly wear our paper hats, even after losing out on the sewing kit from the Christmas cracker to our nan. But what weird and wonderful traditions do the rest of the world take part in over the festive period? We’ve dived into some of the worlds’ most weird and wonderful feasts, take a look at some of our favourites…
A Croatian Carol
The Croatians kick off the celebrations early, with the wreaths and candles taking pride of place in homes from as early as the 25th November. Although, the Christmas tree doesn’t actually get decorated until Christmas Eve arrives. The night before Christmas the family gets together to jazz up the tree with shiny fruit-shaped ornaments, which stems from the old tradition of decorating the tree with real fruits covered in gold!
What can you expect to find on your plate over the festive season in Croatia? Well, the Croatians are in agreement with us that the turkey is always the star of the show. This is accompanied by the festive side dish sarma – a delicious cabbage roll filled with juicy pork. Doughnuts are also super popular during the festive season, from golden chocolate-filled treats to fruity jam infused balls of goodness that are sure to get your taste buds tingling… it’s a doughnut lover’s dream!
Walking in a Greek wonderland
The Greek are also a fan of a good roast dinner, with their Christmas meal taking the form of a juicy lamb and pork main served with a whole load of veggies and sometimes even a special spinach and cheese pie. The country also creates some magnificent sweet treats at this time of year with delicious pastries favoured among all! From the famous crispy Baklava, sweetened with sticky honey, to cinnamon covered Kataifi and, of course, a Greek Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a slice of Christopsomo – a delicious festive bread filled with spiced cinnamon and zesty orange cloves.
The streets of Thessaloniki come to life each December with decorative bright lights, huge leafy green Christmas trees and traditional Greek ships. This long-standing Greek tradition sees families from across the country display pretty, decorated wooden ships in their homes around Christmas time to celebrate sailors returning home from lengthy sea voyages – and it also looks pretty cool too!
Famous Italian festivities
Italy’s festive traditions see families come together on Christmas Eve to enjoy a whole load of Panettone and heart-warming cups of creamy hot chocolate by the fire. As the big day dawns, this country prepares a fantastic fish-themed Christmas cuisine, known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. From salted cod to crispy calamari and even electrifying eels, this seven-course feast is huge! Although, we are in Italy after all, so these fish-based dishes are accompanied by an array of fresh pasta with creamy tomato and cheese sauces depending upon the region of Italy you’re visiting.
You can also expect a delightful spread of fine Italian wines and rich cheeses afterwards… so you know where you can find us next year!
A reggae-reggae Christmas
The Jamaican people are famous for their festival spirit, and Christmas is no exception. Celebrating in true Caribbean style, the Grand Market takes over the city streets every Christmas Eve, with twinkling lights, street-food-style eats and funky live music acts. The locals round up their family and friends for a boogie, with many staying out and partying till the early hours of Christmas morning.
But what do they tuck into to cure the hangover the next day? This Carribean island’s Christmas cuisine typically takes the form of spicy curried goat teamed up with nation’s favourite rice and peas. And there’s no better way to get over a heavy night of drinking than to wash it down with a generous helping of red wine of course. This delightful celebration can only be complete with a big slice of rum-infused Jamaican Christmas cake, after all, what could be a better way to end the day?
Fancy jetting off on a Christmas escape? Check out our winter sunshine selection!