Victorian ideas from the 1860s inspired many of the ways the world celebrates Christmas today. Christmas cards weren’t given widely until then; the tradition didn’t spread to the United States until the early 1970s. Until the late nineteenth century when turkey took center stage, the Christmas feast focused on goose, chicken, or roast beef. It was also common to see people caroling door-to-door. The tradition of decorating Christmas trees also came from this era — it began in Germany, spread to America by way of German settlers, and made its way to England in 1840 due to Prince Albert.[related]
In the United States, roast turkey and ham are common Christmas dinner meats, while gingerbread and candy canes are traditional sweets. Many may think that in Italy, Italians are feasting on seven fishes on Christmas Eve, however, the tradition of a meal built around seven types of seafood, while it was inspired by southern Italian traditions, actually started in America. Italians forgo meat on Christmas Eve, but don’t necessarily eat seafood. Instead they have something light in preparation for a Christmas Day meal of baked pasta, followed by a meat like lamb or pork. In the north, lasagna verdi alla bolognese is a common Christmas pasta al forno, while in southern regions, like Sicily, the preferred pasta to bake is anellini.
Wondering what the rest of the world is cooking up to celebrate Christmas and spread the yuletide cheer? The Daily Meal is here to take you to Christmas tables around the globe to get a taste of their traditional Christmas meals.
Additional reporting by Fabiana Santana.