With Christmas right around the corner, I always start to think about all the delicious food that we get to eat and it got me thinking about the different traditions we have, and follow almost religiously. At Christmas, it’s almost a given to have roast turkey and all the trimmings (and yes, this includes sprouts!), and who can forget the good old Christmas pudding with lashings of custard?
Although there are people moving away from these culinary traditions of late, the vast majority of us will be tucking into turkey for Christmas lunch this year, next year and the year after that, too! Some people stick to these traditions because they genuinely enjoy them but for others, it can be because of their faith.
Now, in today’s world, it is fair to assume that not everyone celebrating Christmas is a Christian, and that’s more than okay – this is a holiday for everyone! There are, however, many other religious festivals and holidays around the world that are celebrated throughout the year and have their own traditional foods.
Christmas and Easter
There are so many traditional foods relating to both Christmas and Easter – from the Christmas chocolate yule log and trifle through to hot cross buns and roast lamb on Easter Sunday. While a lot of traditions vary from family to family, you can rest assured that the traditionalists will stick to their tried and tested favourites, year in year out.
Other festive traditions include advent calendars and Easter eggs – and let’s not forget Lent. Advent calendars and Easter Eggs have a lot of religious undertones but these days are much more universal in their appeal – and quite a commercial affair! Lent, by contrast, is still quite popular and is the process of giving something up for 40 days before Easter. Historically, rich foods such as milk and eggs are used up before Lent which is where the tradition of Pancake Day came from!
While these holidays aren’t strictly religious in nature anymore, they do have strong roots with Christianity and Judaism and this is where many of these food traditions come from.
Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr
For Muslims, two of the biggest festivals during the year are Eid-al-Fitr following Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha following Qurbani. Ramadan is a traditional period of fasting for many Muslim’s so Eid-al-Fitr is the closing of the fast and traditionally sweeter foods such as Seviyan are consumed as a celebration of this. Seviyan is a rich dish of vermicelli cooked in sweet milk and served with dates.
By contrast, Eid-al-Adha is a more savoury affair, with many consuming biryani, red meats and delicious curries to mark the end of Qurbani.
Qurbani is a tradition whereby an animal is sacrificed and split equally between family, loved ones and those in need.
Diwali is a very popular Hindu and Sikh faith festival of light and is a celebration of light over darkness. As well as candles and fireworks marking this 5-day long occasion, families come together to enjoy feasts and sweets with their loved ones. And the food? The food is as sweet as can be! One of the most enjoyed Diwali festival foods is mithai, an Indian sweetmeat that are consumed throughout the day!
Other popular Diwali foods include samosas and aloo tikka although the majority of foods associated with the festival are sweeter! For instance, gulab jamun; these delicious morsels are fried dough and soaked in syrup often flavoured with rose and cardamom.
Are there any other foodie traditions that you and your family celebrate? Why not have a look at some of the weird and wonderful traditions that are out there and try something new?