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

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Turkey, anyone? Shutterstock
  • 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.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Germans tend to celebrate Christmas with a roasted goose, dumplings, and red cabbage.

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Source: German Foods, Culture Trip, German Food Guide


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

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Source: German Foods, Culture Trip, German Food Guide


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

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Source: German Foods, Culture Trip, German Food Guide


Bulgarian Christmas tables tend to feature stuffed vegetables, soups, and cakes.

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Source: Free Sofia Tour, Culture Trip, TripSavvy


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

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Source: Fiji Islands, Tourism Fiji


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

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Source: Fiji Islands, Tourism Fiji


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

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Source: British Study Centres, TripSavvy


Typically it’s covered with brandy and set on fire right at the table!

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Source: British Study Centres, TripSavvy


In some Italian households, the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is celebrated on Christmas Eve with — you guessed it! — seven kinds of fish or other seafood.

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Source: Walks of Italy, The Local


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.

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Source: The Local, French Today


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

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Source: The Local, French Today


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.

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Source: James Beard Foundation


Swedes traditionally celebrate Christmas with Risgrynsgröt — rice pudding. Whoever gets the bowl with a surprise almond in it will have good luck for the year.

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Source: Culture Trip, Receptfavoriter


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

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Source: CostaRica.com


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

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Source: CostaRica.com


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

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Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, NPR


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

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Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, NPR


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

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Source: The New York Times


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.

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Source: The New York Times


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.

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Source: The Guardian


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

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Source: The Guardian


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

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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.

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Source: Culture Trip, OkayAfrica


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.

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Source: Business Insider, Chowhound, StepFeed


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

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Source: The Spruce Eats, Rachna’s Kitchen, Masala Korb, Quartz India


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

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Source: The Spruce Eats, The Guardian, BBC


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.

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Source: Business Insider


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.

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Source: Business Insider


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.

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Source: Business Insider


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

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Source: Business Insider


… and mulled wine!

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Source: Business Insider


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.

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Source: My Jewish Learning, Chaabad


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.

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Source: Little Passports, Santorini Tours


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

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Source: Little Passports, Santorini Tours


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

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Source: My Korean Kitchen, Gastro Tour Korea via Medium


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

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Source: Little Passports, Visit Korea


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.

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Source: Little Passports, Visit Korea


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

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Source: Bon Appetit, The New York Times


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.

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Source: Little Passports, Bon Appetit, Bon Appetit, Persian Food Tours


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.

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Source: Bon Appetit


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

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Source: Yummly, Business Insider


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.

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Source: Turkish Cultural Foundation


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

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Source: Little Passports,

Visit Scotland


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.

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Source: Little Passports,

Visit Scotland


American Thanksgiving is traditionally all about the turkey.

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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.

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Source: Insider


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

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Source: Insider


And there are sometimes multiple different kinds of pie to choose from.

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Source: Delish