7 countries, 7 traditional Christmas feasts

Christmas is celebrated in many ways in many corners of the globe, and the cuisine that marks the holiday is as diverse as the people feasting on it.

Iran PressEurope: Even when we can't travel to be together, food traditions are comforting at a time when many of us are separated from our families and have had a challenging year in the wake of COVID-19. And Christmas dishes are particularly special in many households.

In France, the French enjoy their lavish holiday meal on December 24, and locals sit down for dinner around 8 pm and savour the first course of seafood. Usually a lobster thermidor -- a baked dish of the cooked crustacean mixed with mustard, egg yolks and brandy or a shrimp scampi is served, CNN reported.

 In France, a bûche de Noël makes for a sweet end to a lavish holiday meal.

Italians celebrate Christmas with their biggest spread on the eve of the big day. Luca Finardi, the general manager of the Mandarin Oriental Milan and smoked salmon with buttered crostini or a smoked salted cod is the precursor to the main meal. Italians from coastal areas such as the Amalfi Coast may start with a crudo such as sea bass with herbs and sea salt.


 Tortellini in brodo is part of many an Italian Christmas Eve spread.

The Brits don't typically indulge in their big holiday meal on Christmas Eve. The 24th is for cooking with our families and going to the local pub for a pint.

The real festivities start on Christmas morning with a glass of champagne and a breakfast of smoked salmon and mince pieces, the later that day, after the Queen's annual Christmas speech is aired, it's time for dinner.


 Christmas pudding, sometimes flaming with brandy, finishes the traditional English Christmas feast.

Greece's holiday celebrations begin on Christmas Eve around 7 pm and families sit around the fireplace and eat a special wheat bread that we make only at Christmas. Some households also eat pork sausages. It's the only [occasion] Greeks eat pork because the meat is not common in our cuisine. After attending an early morning holy communion on Christmas Day, Greeks go home for an all-day eating fest.

Christmas honey cookies are part of a typical Greek holiday spread.

Mexicans get the Christmas festivities going on December 24, and families start by breaking a pinata that's filled with all sorts of locally made candies in chilli and tamarind flavors, dinner follows usually somewhere between 7 and 10 pm. The meal starts with posole -- a stew with big corn kernels and pork or beef that's accompanied by as many as 20 condiments such as parsley, cilantro, chiles and assorted cheeses.

Posole is a traditional way to start a Mexican Christmas meal.

Many Costa Ricans celebrate Christmas with a middle-of-the-night extravaganza, then they go to midnight Mass and come home and have a huge meal at 2 am Homemade tamales, filled with either chicken or pork or vegetables and cheese, kick off the spread. Then it's on to arroz con pollo, Costa Rica's national rice dish that's made with green beans, peas, carrots, saffron, cilantro and a chopped up whole chicken.

Homemade tamales are a staple in Costa Rica.

Christmas Day is the big food celebration for Bahamians, says Vonya Ifill, the director of talent and culture at Rosewood Baha Mar. Locals have a big dinner that includes turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, peas and rice made with coconut milk and potato salad.

The feast is held in the evening and then at midnight and people celebrate Boxing Day with a Junkanoo Festival. After dancing and parading around all evening and into the early morning hours, we end the festivities with a boiled fish or fish stew.

The seafood is always accompanied by potato bread or Johnny Cake, a cornmeal flatbread.


Peas and rice grace many holiday plates in the Bahamas.

Christians celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH) on Dec 25.


Read More:

Merry Christmas to all Iran Press' audience

Iran FM wishes 'Merry Christmas' for all Christians

White House warns N. Korea over 'Christmas gift' threat