The holidays are here at last! Holiday songs, spinning tops, stockings hung by the chimney with care – whatever the custom, tis the season for tradition! Let’s take a look at some of the yummiest holiday traditions across the world!
“There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”
Sugar cookies, gingerbread, candy canes, sufganiyah jelly doughnuts – the holidays are a neverending parade of sweet treats! One of the oldest sweet treat traditions is the fruitcake, a hardy dense cake that can last for years if properly stored. Now most well-known as the butt of jokes, such as Johnny Carson’s guess that there’s only one fruitcake in the entire world that keeps getting passed around as a gift, the fruitcake was considered a beloved holiday staple as recently as the 1950s because they are so well-preserved and perfect for shipping. Fruitcakes continue to be a holiday tradition throughout the world such as the German stollen, Italian panettone, and the Caribbean black cake.
Meatless main dishes – a new holiday tradition!
The holidays may mean decking the halls and winter wonderlands to many, but in Japan, December 24th means Kentucky-fried chicken. Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan and not widely celebrated, but the American company KFC started a Christmas chicken dinner special in the 1970s that has since become an icon synonymous with December. In the Western world, holiday meals typically include ham, turkey, or brisket, but in recent years, millions have started creating a new tradition of meatless main dishes, such as the holiday roast.
We all want some figgy pudding, please bring some right now!
Pies, cookies, and cakes are always a holiday favorite, but the dish perhaps most steeped in tradition is the flaming plum pudding. Hailing from the UK, it’s famous as the centerpiece of the humble Cratchits’ Christmas dinner in A Christmas Carol, and demanded for two verses in “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Traditionally, plum or figgy pudding is similar to a fruitcake, with enough alcohol in it that it can be set aflame. Flaming plum pudding historically included the game “snap dragons” in which children try to snatch a raisin from the flaming pudding.
The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate cultural traditions, and create new family memories! What are your family’s holiday traditions?