Gauss-Advents Calendar: Christmas dinner around the world

Gauss-Advents Calendar: Christmas dinner around the world

by Mehdi Mnaouar

Melomakarona © Katerina’s Kouzina

Christmas traditions vary depending on the country or region: There are different customs, original Christmas carols and special decorations. Today we present you some Christmas dinners from all over the world.


On Christmas Eve, traditional delicacies such as galopoula (turkey stuffed with chestnuts and walnuts or almonds) accompanied by jacket potatoes, gourounopoulo psito (roast piglet brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven) are cooked. Melomacarona (Christmas biscuits made with flour, olive oil and honey) and kourabiedes (soft biscuits) are often eaten for dessert.

South Africa

Christmas falls in the middle of summer in South Africa during the South African summer holidays. On these hot days people are more in the mood for cold meat and salads or a braai, the South African barbecue. The traditional menu can include suckling pig or roast beef, turkey, rice, vegetables and desserts.


The Philippines, located in South East Asia, is one of the few countries in Asia with a Christian majority. On Christmas Eve in the Philippines, people eat queso de bola (cheese balls surrounded by red paraffin), rice cakes, hamon (Christmas ham) and serve baskets of twelve round fruits that symbolises the luck hoped for in the next twelve months. Pasta and noodles that symbolize longevity are usually served. Additionally, you can find dandelion on the menu.


Argentineans are very fond of asados (grilled food) and this is confirmed at Christmas. Lamb or suckling pig are cooked on the embers or on the grill (parilla). In addition, chicken and turkey are served. In short, they eat a lot of meat! For dessert, guests appreciate the pan dulce, a brioche of dried fruits with sweet cider.


The preparation of Christmas dinner is much less complicated in Canada than in other countries. Dinner begins with crackers and cheese, the typical aperitif of the Anglo-Saxon countries. Meat is usually served for the meal, but lobster is also found in some regions. Mostly beef is cooked with maple syrup to give it a real Canadian touch. As for the dessert, simplicity is also the order of the day with a dried fruit pudding.


Traditional Icelandic Christmas meals are very important. On December 23rd, many homes eat a fermented fish, such as ray, a typical dish from the western fjords. On the 24th of December the Hamborgahryggur (loin of pork), roasted saddle of mutton, ptarmigan or turkey, a typical American dish, is enjoyed by the family. On December 25th the Hangikjöt is served. It is a cold or warm, lightly smoked mutton ham, accompanied by potatoes, peas, red cabbage and a bread cake from the north of the country (Laufabrauð) with a white sauce.