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Advent Food Traditions Around the World

December 21, 2012  by: Paulose  Points: 15   Category: Food & Drinks    Views: 738

Advent season is almost over. The world is ready for the great festival of Christmas. All the denominations of Christianity around the world have various kinds of traditions and rituals to mark this season. Every season has its own food traditions according to the culture of the region. It is interesting to learn at least some of them.


Advent is the season of announcing the birth of Jesus and preparing for the festival of Christmas. It has a four week preparation for the great festival Christmas. The liturgical practice of observing these four weeks started in the fourth century which prepares people spiritually and socially. The liturgy in churches emphasizes the spiritual preparation with joyful expectation of the God’s participation in human life. The preparation has much significance in food traditions also. People retain the thoughts of this season and they reflect them in their social and dietary activities.

Traditional diet preparations for Christmas and other festivals

Christmas shopping is an important part of preparations. Every festival gets its importance with special delicious dinners. For example, Halloween has pumpkin pie and spooky Halloween treats. Thanksgiving Day has turkey and mashed potato. Christmas has special cakes. In olden days people used to prepare festival eatables at home. But nowadays everything is available readymade in markets and people do not spend time to prepare them at home.

Advent in eastern and western rites

In the hustle and bustle of routine life, Christians prepare for the festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus. Carol songs, decorating houses with lights, hanging lighted stars, displaying crib, installing Christmas tree, exchanging greeting cards and gifts, etc. are practiced almost everywhere. Preparing special snacks and other dishes also adds delight to the festival.

Advent food traditions among South Indian Christians

India has many ancient Christian denominations which follow Christianity right from the beginning of the religion. Syro-Malabar Christians of South India observe 25 days’ abstinence from non-vegetarian food and alcohol. They prepare snacks days before the festival with rice powder, jaggery and coconut oil. On the day of Christmas, they cook round cake with rice powder, toddy and other ingredients which is called “vatteppam”. All the family members and relatives have dinner together. Today, modern people do not want to spend time in preparing them and they are replaced with modern cakes and ready made snacks available in markets.

Advent food traditions in other places

In America and Europe, they prepare old fashioned puddings with soft fruits such as raisins and citrus peels. They are mixed with brandy and jarred to be kept for several weeks. Plaited bread in long oval shape that looks like a wrapped child is the special food in many countries of Europe. French people make the enticing Yule Log long before the festival. Red cabbage salads or braised and potato with roasted goose are the Advent specials of the Germans. Greeks make kourabiedes, baklava and pecan pie with nuts.

Advent is the season of preparation for the great festival Christmas. Traditions have given much importance to food in order to make the season more significant with its observance. Advent food traditions are different from that of Lent and other seasons. This shows that festivals have been a part of life in human history.


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