Christmas Dishes Around the World

In honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday, we thought it would be fun to explore various Christmas meal traditions from around the world. Here is what we discovered!


In Poland, the tradition is to serve 12 dishes during the Christmas holiday, each representing one of the 12 apostles. Plates may include braised sauerkraut, herring, mushroom soup, and red borscht. At the end of an incredible feast, they like to enjoy kołaczki (Christmas cookies filled with jam) or keks świąteczny (Polish fruitcake).

The Philippines

Christmas tends to be a big deal in the Philippines, where a popular dessert dish is puto bumbong, a sweet delicacy made with glutinous black and white rice. But before getting to dessert, Filipinos typically indulge in pancit Malabon, made with thick rice noodles; Filipino-style spaghetti; and roasted suckling pig.


In Mexico, popular Christmas dishes include bacalao Mexicano (Mexican-style dried salt cod), tamales, and pozole. The festivities usually occur from Christmas Eve through January 6, Día de Los Reyes (Kings’ Day). Families traditionally will have Rosca de Reyes (king cake) with a plastic baby Jesus cooked into it, accompanied by Mexican hot chocolate. Whoever gets the baby is supposed to make tamales for Día de la Candelaria in February.


In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas looks different than it does in the States, mainly because it is the summer season. As a result, the weather is warm, and the meals are predominantly lighter. Many in Australia fire up the grill on Christmas and spend the day outside. Popular dishes include ham, seafood, and mince pies. For dessert, many enjoy pavlova, a marshmallow-filled meringue cake topped with fruit.


In Serbia, Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7, not December 25. Festivities begin with ceremonial bozicni kolac (Christmas bread) with a silver coin baked inside to bring luck to the person who finds it. Traditional dinners typically include roast pork (pecenica), parsley potatoes, and cheese strudel. A popular dessert is Dobos torte, often accompanied by a strong and dark Balkan cup of coffee.

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