Here's what people eat on Christmas in 19 countries around the globe

Christmas is a special time for people all over the world.

While the holiday can be celebrated in many different ways, perhaps no custom is more important than the time-honored Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal.

Still, these meals vary greatly depending on where they’re taking place.

Inspired by this BookTable post by Rob Rebelo, we took a look at some typical Christmas meals from countries across the globe.

Germans often serve fruity Stollen cake, along with a mulled wine called Gluehwein. Stollen is traditionally baked to have a hump, symbolizing the humps of the camels that carried the wise men to see Jesus.

Joern Haufe/Stringer/Getty

Many Bulgarians fast before Christmas, so on Christmas they nosh on stuffed vegetables, soups, and cakes.


In Fiji, locals dine on banana leaf-wrapped fish, stuffed chicken, and pork made with a “Lovo,” an earth oven made with heavy stones, like the one seen below.

We’ve all heard of “figgy pudding,” but in the United Kingdom, they actually eat it. Better yet, they cover their Christmas pudding with brandy and set it on fire.

Italians celebrate Christmas by making a meal they call the “Feast of Seven Fishes,” which features many different seafood items, like calamari, cod, anchovies, and clam linguine.

France also serves seafood for Christmas, during the traditional Le Réveillon celebration. Meals usually feature lobster, oysters, and foie gras.

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In Sweden, a rice pudding, or Risgrynsgröt, is served during Christmastime. One of the bowls will have an almond submerged in its center, and the lucky one who gets it will have good luck for the rest of the year.

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In Costa Rica, locals usually eat pork tamales on Christmas, many using recipes passed down through generations.

Carlos Rojas V/Shutterstock

In Ethiopia, locals eat a “doro wat,” a chicken stew served with flat bread. Forget the forks and knives, because like with many Ethiopian meals, you eat this with your hands.

It’s summer during Christmas in South Africa, so locals head to the Braai — an African grill — to cook up lamb, turkey, and pork.

It’s summer in Australia, too, so residents have a Christmas barbecue, cooking turkey and lamb. They also eat a lot of seafood, such as boiled prawns and natural oysters.


On Christmas, Ghanaians eat corn porridge, okra stew, rice, and a yam or plantain mash called “Fufu.”

Egyptian Christians keep vegan on the three days before Christmas. A main staple during this time is Kushari, a macaroni, rice, and lentils dish that’s topped with a tomato-vinegar sauce.

Christians in India celebrate the holiday by eating traditional Biryani — or curry — dishes. To end the meal, they often eat kheer, a sweet and milky pudding.

Promptly at 6 p.m. every Christmas Eve, Icelandic people sit down to a massive meal of cooked meats, including reindeer meat.

In Argentina, locals dine on Vitel Toné (veal in tuna sauce) as well as turkey, pork, and bread. Oftentimes these meals will be enjoyed in a backyard BBQ style.


In Finland, people sit down to a Christmas “Joulupöytä,” a massive smorgasbord of food that includes ham, bread, fish, various casseroles and vegetables, and mulled wine.

People in the United States enjoy eggnog during the holiday months, some more than others.

NSC Photography/Shutterstock

Believe it or not, on Christmas, Japanese residents flock to KFC to dine on tasty fried chicken and all the fixings.

Hollis Johnson

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