Celebrating the Holidays Around the World


Thanksgiving Table

When it comes to the holiday season, there are many traditions around the world that are similar. Traditions, however, that don’t include food! If you love having a large turkey dinner with all the fixings to celebrate the holidays, for example, you may just find out that this just isn’t possible in other places around the globe!

So what does the rest of the world eat to celebrate the holidays? Let’s take a look at what the traditional turkey meals may look like depending on where you are:

Liberia Celebrates Thanksgiving Too

Though Thanksgiving is primarily an American holiday, it is also celebrated in the West African nation of Liberia as well. That’s because Americans helped to colonize the country in the early 1800’s. You’re not going to find a lot of turkeys over in Liberia, however, so it isn’t on the holiday meal menu very often. You will find lots of chicken included with a holiday meal here, as well as the traditional green bean casserole that everyone loves. Instead of mashed potatoes, however, you’ll find mashed Cassavas accompanying your meal. Of course if you have Tapioca pudding with your holiday meal, then you’re having Cassavas too!

Japan Celebrates a Festive Thanksgiving

In Japan, the Thanksgiving holiday especially is more about the attitude of the holidays than the food that you eat. It’s about honoring the work of those who labor daily to make the nation productive. You won’t find many people here sitting down to a massive feast with all the trimmings. Cooking a turkey in Japan, in fact, could be rather difficult unless you’ve got a large convection oven [which many do not own]. For that reason, you’ll find a combination of traditional Japanese dishes that include chicken, rice, noodles, and soups on many holiday menus. Sushi is also a common item to see.

If you want a traditional holiday meal, you can find them at some restaurants… but expect to pay a steep price. The cheapest one we could locate was ¥6,000.

In France, You Can Go Rustic… Or Enjoy Fine Dining

If you’re looking for a fantastic holiday meal and you happen to be in France, then you’re in for a treat. You can approach the holiday meal in a couple of different ways: you could enjoy a rustic, home-style type of menu that would include turkey or maybe lamb, stuffing that is made from the organs of the turkey, a rich wine-based sauce to accompany the meat, and seasonal vegetables. That’s right – turkey is readily available in France as it is a leading producer of turkey in Europe.

If you prefer something upscale, this is also readily available throughout the country. Imagine a beautifully cooked turkey leg or moist slices of turkey breast, accompanied by a wine-infused brown gravy and your preference of sides. Many dining establishments offer their own take of the classic holiday meal, but be prepared to pay a steep price for these options – at least 40 Euros per person.

In Russia, the Focus Is on Christmas

Russia has Orthodox roots, which means the holiday meal focuses on the Orthodox traditions of faith for many families. Fasting during the Advent season is common, which means some families do not eat any kind of meat, including fish. Alcohol is often prohibited as well, though some families allow for red wine as an exception. Mushroom soups are very common, as well as pickled foods.

Some families allow for fish to be eaten, so a battered fish dish may also be served, such as a kulebyaka, which is a lot like a salmon turnover. Kidney beans, potatoes, and dumplings are also commonly found on the holiday menu. You might also find kutya, or a dish of boiled wheat and honey, on the table.

How do you celebrate the holidays? Do you infuse different cultures and dishes into your holiday menu? Do you enjoy ham instead of turkey? Do you put your own spin on the holiday meal with family recipes or spices? Please share your favorite holiday dishes in the comments below!

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