Christmas is something of a hodgepodge holiday, a blend of Christian and pagan practices, with varying regional traditions thrown into the mix. One country’s Christmas celebration can appear vastly different from another’s, which results in a delightfully diverse menu of holiday dishes and food-related traditions.
In some Portuguese pastelerias, egg yolks get whipped into a festive bloodsucking sea monster, complete with sharp almond teeth and candied cherry eyes. Meanwhile, in Wales, revelers must earn their food and drink, wandering through neighborhoods with a decorated horse skull and engaging in poetry battles.
Whether it’s a pudding meant to appease an evil elf, a punch with pyrotechnic flair, or a bread shaped like the baby Jesus, these 13 dishes, drinks, and traditions show the many flavors of Christmas around the world.