Tell me about Christmas in different countries(18 Posts)
And how it differs to the British traditions.
What could I do to bring an element of internationalism into my Christmas this year and make it different.
Why would you want to do that?
I can tell you a couple of Norwegian traditions that we dont do here:
23rd December - rice pudding for dinner. Almond in the middle, the person who finds the almond gets a marzipan pig for a price.
24th December - our main day of Christmas - you could try do Christmas a day early this year! lol We eat pork. We open the Christmas presents in the evening. After dinner, coffee and cake!
We go to the cemetery before lunch/dinner to light candles on the graves of our loved ones! (This involves bringing a spade, a bottle of water to refreeze the snow we have shaped around pine twigs to shelter the candles/lanterns, and merinos and downjackets to wear). We also fit in Church, either around 11, or midnight mass.
25th December - nobody visit eachother, each family unit mostly stay on their own, a day of contemplation, and watching televised mass while snacking and drinking mulled wine!
Just for fun really. We have quite a few European friends and I've done a few Christmas things with them in the past.
Plus I find it fascinating seeing how different it is everywhere.
I'm liking the rice pudding tradition!
Traditions in Portugal: main celebration is on the 24th, presents opened at midnight in most houses. Food is salted cod, cooked simply with boiled potatoes and cabbage. In my house it's traditional to also eat fried octopus which is one of my favourites. Sweets include rice pudding, fried pastries and a fruit christmas cake. Traditionally it would have inside a fava bean and a little present. Whoever got the present would have a good year, who got the bean would buy the cake the following year.
Christmas day would be lunch with family. Food varies a lot but is now turkey in many houses. Although pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, brussel sprout s are not part of it.
The 26th is not a bank holiday and everyone is back at work.
Meant to add that due to too many broken teeth the cakes no longer have a bean or a present!
I always bring the the following to Norway for our Christmas celebrations:
Iced Fruit cake
These foods are not sold in Norway, and have become part of OUR traditions.
My sister brings various types of Turrón de Navidad from Spain where she lives and also Italian Panettone.
Hardly any of the sweets and cakes we eat are therefore Norwegian. Aside from the almond based
Go Australian style and have prawns and champagne for breakfast in the sunshine. Swim, if near a beach.
Hands down best festive character is the Krampus.
Kiddies in Germany put shoes out on St Nicholas Day to be filled with little presents by the big man. If they are bad, Krampus comes to scare the living shit out of them.
I should say, this is only in parts of Germany
the awesome parts
Switzerland: Sammi Klaus (st Nicholas) visits on 6/12, brings sweets and nuts, assesses children's behaviour over the last 12 months; main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. You have Pastetli for evening meal (large vol au vents filled with a creamy veal delicious filling), then tree and presents. Christmas Day - church, nice roast meal (not turkey, maybe beef), general pleasantness and calm. Key food - Christmas biscuits - if you google "weihnachtsguetsli" you should find recipes for Spitzbuben, Zimtsterne, Brunsli, Lebkuchen etc.
We usually have Polish Christmas Eve - massive meal including borscht, matjes, pierogi, lots of vodka, salmon (had carp one year but everyone unimpressed) and poppyseed cake (you can find a recipe for that in Dan Lepard book "Short and Sweet"). Presents on Christmas Eve too.
I work in a European office with lots of people from all over the globe. At the lunch time Christmas meal we have crackers and I have had to explain them to people from all over - normally with a bemused look, especially at the hats and rubbish jokes ;-)
Australia. Perth. hot at around 40 degrees. champagne on the beach then some lunch and feet in the pool at home for the afternoon.
I had an Italian Christmas dinner once with Italian friends. Served in the evening on Christmas day.
It started at 7.30pm and ended at 2am! Loads of courses with quite a lot of time in between, all spent at the table playing games, opening gifts and chatting. It was superb. Booze flowed slowly, so people werent pissed. Little kids were allowed to stay up until they fell asleep on the sofa and were lifted to bed. It was really, really lovely.
We had olives and bread with a glass of Prosecco to start.
Then an amazing antipasti spread - the presentation was stunning, huge platters of meats & roasted and marinated vegetables.
Then a soup (a kind of herby chicken broth with pasta in it)
Then a little dish of cannelloni
Then roast chicken and roast veal with lovely lemony roast potatoes and greens...and great wine
Then an amazing spread of little pastries and truffles and liqueurs
Then pannetone and coffee
Then... I slept for about 12 hours and didnt eat until the following evening!
Thank you! All of these sound awesome. I can see a few ideas I might do over the Christmas period as we have lots of visitors and visits to do.
In Spain presents are exchanged on 6th January to celebrate the three Kings - not sure how keen British children would be on waiting for that, though! In fact, friends always said to us they thought the British way was better as the dc had their presents to play with over the school holidays. But there was a very lovely procession of the three kings through town on a float, throwing sweets down to the children
Look out for Turron, which is a spanish christmas treat, kind of like nougat. Also amusing - feeding Christmas pudding and Birds custard to Spanish people unused to British cooking (mince pies went down better . . .)
Belgium/parts of Northern France
Much easier than UK when church, main festive meal, presents etc all on same day!
Dec 6th - children receive presents from St Nicolas (dc receive just a few tokens on Christmas day itself, or a few clothes)
Christmas eve = "midnight" mass at family friendly time of 6pm or 7pm!
Followed by (mainly cold) buffet of sea food; oysters, lobster etc etc all prepared by local traiteur. Topped off with bouche de Noel prepared by local patisserie.
Christmas day itself therefore spent in an extremely relaxing manner chilling/visiting family. My native friends don't "get" what all the British Christmas stress is about!!
meant to say, relatively quiet/non-commercial here as compared with UK
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