Mouthwatering photos show what different holiday feasts look like around the world

Business Insider US
  • Whatever holiday you celebrate, special occasions are often a time when people gather around the table to enjoy a feast.
  • People celebrate Christmas all over the world, but eating turkey and drinking eggnog is a historically British tradition, according to culinary historians.
  • Some Koreans traditionally celebrate their harvest season with a feast of crops, and many Iranians do the same for their Persian New Year. 
  • Observant Muslims and Jews abstain from food on their respective holidays, but they both look forward to their traditional meals when they break the fast.
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Germans tend to celebrate Christmas with a roasted goose, dumplings, and red cabbage.

They might also snack on stollen cake - a bread made with dried fruits inside and powdered sugar on top.

Celebrators in the festive spirit may drink a mulled wine called Glühwein out of decorated, sometimes boot-shaped mugs.

Visit Fiji during Christmastime and you may eat banana leaf-wrapped fish, stuffed chicken, and pork.

The pork is typically made in a "lovo" - an in-earth oven made with heavy stones.

Figgy pudding isn't just something you sing about - it's an actual dish in the UK.

French-speaking parts of the world also tend to eat seafood during le Réveillon - the French Christmas Eve feast. The highlight of the meal is typically shellfish like lobster and oysters.

And, of course, don't forget the foie gras.

Traditionally, French meals of any kind are known to go on for many, many hours - long enough to give anyone a little bit of indigestion. To combat that, there's an in-between course called le trou normand - liquor-soaked sorbet.

Swedes traditionally celebrate Christmas with Risgrynsgro¨t - rice pudding. Whoever gets the bowl with a surprise almond in it will have good luck for the year.

After midnight mass, Costa Ricans typically eat a meal featuring chicken and pork tamales wrapped in plantain leaves.


They may also drink a type of eggnog called rompope along with spiced rum punch.


Ethiopians might feast on doro wat - a stew of chicken, beef, or other meat - during holiday meals.

It's typically spooned onto injera - a spongy flat bread, which is used like a utensil.

A widely practiced tradition in South African culture is that of the braai - cooking meat over an open flame.

Whether celebrating a holiday or just a Sunday afternoon, you can almost often find South Africans throwing chicken, lamb, boerewors - a type of sausage - sweetbreads, and other meats onto the grill.

As it is in South Africa, Christmas is a summer holiday in Australia. Naturally, that means firing up a barbecue and grilling up some turkey, lamb, or seafood.

Source: The Guardian

Grilled prawns are also part of a longstanding Australian tradition called "shrimp on the barbie."

Source: The Guardian

Ghanaians tend to celebrate Christmas with a feast of corn porridge, okra stew, rice, and fufu.

Source: Culture Trip

Fufu is a popular mash made from a dough of starchy flour - like cassava, yam, or plantain - and hot water picured below. It's typically a finger food eaten with stews or soups.

In Egypt, Christians often eat vegan for the three days leading up to Christmas. Kushari - a macaroni, rice, and lentil dish topped with a tomato-vinegar sauce - can become a staple during these days. The street food is also eaten on other holidays.

People in India may eat traditional biryani - spiced rice - during Christmas. But holiday dishes can vary depending on the region.

Dessert might consist of kheer - sweet and milky rice pudding, which is also made for different festivals across India.

Christmas in the Philippines usually means eating a whole suckling pig at midnight. The pig usually has a bright yellow ball of cheese in its mouth.

Icelandic Christmas feasts tend to follow a strict schedule. At 6 p.m. sharp, it's common to sit down to a meal of cooked meats, including reindeer.

Argentinians traditionally celebrate Christmas in the backyard barbecue style with the dish Vitel Toné - veal in tuna sauce. Celebrators might also feast on turkey, pork, and bread.

Joulupöytä is the Christmas spread in Finland that features ham, bread, fish, casseroles, vegetables ...

... and mulled wine!

Hanukkah is typically celebrated with a feast of latkes and sufganiyot - potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts. Both are fried in oil commemorating the story of the holiday.

In the two weeks leading up to lent, Greeks from Cyprus will often prepare by eating a lot of meat and cheese. During the week of Kreatini (the week of meat), observers eat a lot of afelia, souvlaki, and tavva - pork stew, lamb skewers, and a baked lamb and vegetable dish.

The week of Tyrini (the week of cheese) often involves eating a lot of bourekia - sweet and savory cheese pastries - herb-crusted cheese cookies, Halloumi-stuffed bread, and cheese ravioli.

Koreans tend to celebrate the Korean Lunar New Year with Tteokguk - rice cake soup.

Perhaps the most important holiday in Korea is Chuseok - the harvest festival. The feast usually features Galbi-jjim, jeon, and japchae - beef short ribs, savory pancakes, and a glass noodle dish.

One of the crops celebrated in this harvest festival is rice. To honour the crop, Koreans make songpyeon - rice cakes usually stuffed with chestnuts, red beans, or sesame seeds - a staple food for the celebration.

Iranians traditionally celebrate Nowruz - the Persian New Year - with produce that welcomes in the spring.

There's also ash-e reshteh, sabzi polo ba mahi, and dolmeh barg - noodle soup, fish with herbed rice, and grape leaves stuffed with lamb and rice.

During Ramadan - the holiest month of the year for Muslims - observers fast every day from sunrise to sunset. While the holiday is known mostly for the fast, it's also known for the special foods Muslims eat when they break the fast (known as iftar) every night.

Source: Bon Appetit

In Iraq, it's common to find people eating dolma - vegetables and leaves typically stuffed with meat, rice, tomatoes, and spices.

Muslims in Turkey may look forward to indulging in Ramazan pide - Ramadan bread. The soft bread is shaped by hand and bakeries often start selling it fresh just before evening prayer time.

Burns Night is a celebration of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. People gather to remember him on is birthday, January 25, with his favorite meal.

The main dish of the annual Burns Supper is Haggis - sheep's stomach stuffed with chopped sheep heart, lungs, liver, oatmeal, onion, and spices all, cooked together.

American Thanksgiving is traditionally all about the turkey.

Source: CNBC

There are plenty of sides to load up your plate with, too. Think green beans cooked five different ways, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, some sort of gourde, and let's not forget the stuffing.

Source: Insider

There's also often some version of sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.

Source: Insider