Italy's Feast of Seven Fishes
An Italian Christmas Eve tradition, the Feast of Seven Fishes features seven different seafood dishes. It symbolizes the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of Baby Jesus.
Japan's Christmas KFC Craze
In Japan, families often celebrate Christmas with Kentucky Fried Chicken, thanks to a successful marketing campaign in the 1970s. It's so popular that orders are placed months in advance.
Philippines' Puto Bumbong Delight
After Simbang Gabi, Filipinos enjoy puto bumbong, a purple rice dessert steamed in bamboo tubes, topped with margarine, coconut, and sugar, showcasing the country's Spanish and Southeast Asian influences.
Sweden's Saffron Bun Tradition
Swedes celebrate St. Lucia's Day on December 13 with lussekatts, saffron-flavored buns shaped like curled-up cats, with raisins for eyes. The buns bring light to the dark Swedish winter.
Germany's Stollen: A Sweet Loaf
Dating back to the 14th century, Stollen is a festive, fruit-laden bread dusted with powdered sugar, meant to resemble baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. It's a cherished German Christmas tradition.
Mexico's Christmas Eve Salad
In Mexico, the colorful Christmas Eve salad contains lettuce, beets, nuts, fruit, and pomegranate seeds. It's a refreshing counterpart to the hearty dishes that dominate the season's feasting.
Iceland's Fermented Skate Custom
In Iceland, many enjoy fermented skate on Thorláksmessa, December 23rd, honoring St. Thorlak. The pungent dish is traditionally paired with potatoes and rye bread, creating a memorable holiday aroma.