International Foodie Traditions


We’re only a week away from Christmas Eve and everyone is preparing for the big day of festivities. Many people celebrate holiday traditions that have been in their families for multiple generations and often these traditions are centered around different foods, much like homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning or Grandma’s sugar cookies left out for Santa. While Christmas is celebrated internationally, there are other December holidays, like Hanukkah and the Lantern Festival, that are celebrated by various nations and cultures. Foodie On Campus is bringing you holiday food traditions from countries around the world. You might just find a new tradition you want to introduce to your family!

England: Father Christmas comes to England and is welcomed with mince pies made with fruit and/or meat.

Philippines: Puto bumbong is a traditional holiday dish for Philippine natives. This is a mixture of white and black rice (which turns purple) cooked in bamboo and then served with butter, sugar, and coconut

Italy: Italians, especially in Southern Italy, celebrate Christmas Eve with the “Feast of Seven Fishes,” which is a multi-course, seafood feast.

France: Typical holiday fare for the French includes eating oysters and Bouche de Noel. Bouche de Noel is a cake that is filled with crème and resembles a Yule Log.

Sweden: Pepparkakor (pepper cookies) are Swedish cookies that are made over the holidays. They are made with warming spices, like cardamom and ginger, and are similar to a gingerbread cookie.

Israel: People in Israel celebrate Hanukkah with foods fried in oil in order to symbolize the oil burning for 8 days. Some of these foods include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

China: Tangyuan are sweet or savory stuffed rice dumplings boiled in flavored water. They are eaten to celebrate the Lantern Festival.


In the United States, kids leave milk and cookies out for Santa Claus and many other countries have their own holiday traditions. These are just a few examples from different parts of the world. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Natalie Senninger is a third year Dietetics major at The University of Dayton. She plans to become a Registered Dietitian.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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