Relatives living abroad, especially OFWs , are highly encouraged to return home for the occasion, as it is the most important Filipino Christian holiday of the year. Most families prefer to exchange Christmas presents right after the dinner, in contrast to the Western custom of opening presents on Christmas morning.
In Austria , Christmas Eve is the celebration of the end of the pre-Christmas fast Christmas is usually celebrated by only Christian a s. Christmas Eve is historically the day that the tree is decorated and lit with real candles, so that the Christkindl may visit. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Austria and most Austrians spend the day feasting with their family. Fried carp, Sachertorte , and Christmas biscuits Lebkuchen and Weihnachtssterne are eaten, as are many other chocolate delicacies including edible Christmas ornaments.
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In the areas of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth e. This stems from the tradition of treating the pre-Christmas season as a time of fasting, broken at nightfall on the eve of Christmas Day. A traditional Christmas meal in the Czech Republic is fried carp and potato salad which are eaten during Christmas dinner on the evening of 24 December.
Many households also prepare a great variety of special Christmas biscuits to offer to visitors. These are prepared many days prior to the feast and take a long time to decorate, with the remainder usually ending up on the Christmas tree as decorations.
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The meat is served with boiled potatoes some of which are caramelized, some roasted , red cabbage, and plenty of gravy. The main course is followed by a dessert of Risalamande , rice pudding served with cherry sauce or strawberry sauce, often with a whole almond hidden inside. The lucky finder of the almond is entitled to an extra present, the almond gift. It contains many different dishes, most of them typical for the season.
The main dish is usually a large Christmas ham, which is eaten with mustard or bread along with the other dishes. Fish is also served often lutefish and gravlax or smoked salmon , and with the ham there are also different casseroles usually with potatoes, rutabaga swedes , or carrots. Christkindelsmarik, the oldest Christmas market in France, is a joyful celebration in Strasbourg that has been there for four to five centuries.
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The market is a long-standing tradition of the representation of the "Child Jesus. In Germany , the primary Christmas dishes are roast goose and roast carp, although suckling pig or duck may also be served.
Typical side dishes include roast potatoes and various forms of cabbage such as kale , Brussels sprouts , and red cabbage. In some regions the Christmas dinner is traditionally served on Christmas Day rather than Christmas Eve. In this case, dinner on Christmas Eve is a simpler affair, consisting of sausages such as Bockwurst or Wiener and potato salad.
Sweets and Christmas pastries are all but obligatory and include marzipan , spice bars Lebkuchen , several types of bread, and various fruitcakes and fruited breads such as Christstollen and Dresdener Stollen. For Christmas dessert, Bejgli or poppy seed roll is a traditional Hungarian Christmas cake with poppy seeds paste and walnut paste fillings. The Icelandic Christmas dinner is eaten on Christmas Eve at The main dish varies much between families.
The most common is probably Hamborgarhryggur , which is a kind of gammon steak. In Ireland, preparations for Christmas dinner begin on Christmas Eve. People will boil the ham and may start to prepare vegetables. The Irish Christmas dinner which is eaten normally between 1.
The older tradition, still followed by many people in Ireland, is to serve a duck or a goose at Christmas. The dinner usually consists of roast turkey although other poultry such as goose, chicken, duck, capon or pheasant are alternatives , sometimes with roast beef or ham or, to a lesser extent, pork.
The centrepiece is typically served with stuffing, gravy and sometimes forcemeat, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly, bread sauce, roast potatoes sometimes also boiled or mashed , vegetables usually boiled or steamed , particularly Brussels sprouts and carrots; dessert consists of Christmas pudding or plum pudding , sometimes mince pies, Christmas cake or trifle, with brandy butter or cream.
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Italian regional traditions are varied. The primo is usually a kind of soup made with pasta usually filled pasta, like tortellini boiled in meat or capon broth. The secondo is very different in the two areas. In Northern Italy they usually eat poultry, often filled, or roasted or boiled and seasoned with sauces, like mostarda. In Southern Italy they eat the fried capitone eel, which is typical of Christmas Eve, because this is a fasting day.
On Christmas Day they could eat roast lamb or fish. Christmas sweets are very varied and every region and sub region has its own. Generally speaking, in Northern Italy they eat a cake enriched with candied fruits, chocolate, raisins or pine nuts, known as panettone , followed by torrone enriched with cherries, chocolate, sweets and more , nougat and nuts. In Southern Italy instead of one cake they serve many kinds of marzipan, biscuits, zeppole , cannoli , candied fruits, and fresh fruits. In the last few decades, panettone has become popular as a Christmas sweet all over Italy.
Pandoro is also a very popular cake at Christmas and New Year, accompanied by a good Spumante. One typical Dutch tradition is that of 'gourmet,' [ citation needed ] an evening-long event where small groups of people sit together around a gourmet-set and use their own small frying pan to cook and season their own food in very small portions.
The host has prepared finely chopped vegetables and different types of meats , fish , prawns and shrimps. Everything is accompanied by different salads, fruits and sauces. The origin of gourmet lies most likely in the former Dutch colony Indonesia. The Dutch also enjoy more traditional Christmas-dinners, especially meats and game like roast beef , duck , rabbit , and pheasant.
In recent years, traditions from Anglo-Saxon countries have become increasingly popular, most notably the British-style turkey. The most common dish is svineribbe usually just ribbe , pork belly side prepared with seasoning salt and pepper , for proper crackling.
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Usually it is consumed together with boiled vegetables, sauerkraut, lingonberry jam, potatoes, gravy, beers and a few shots of akevitt. The traditional lutefisk is also still eaten by some, but it is more commonly eaten at other occasions during the Christmas period. For dessert rice pudding is very popular, served with a raspberry sauce. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Poland and most Poles spend the day feasting with their family. The Christmas meal is elaborate, served in the evening on 24 December, offering large quantities of food.
This Christmas Eve meal is called Wigilia. Then supper begins. The meal is meatless, honouring Catholic tradition. Many households also prepare a great variety of special Christmas dishes, typically numbering 12 in honor of the 12 apostles. Dishes include: stuffed carp, fried carp, herring in wine sauce, herring in cream sauce, fruit compote, vegetable salad, soup beetroot, mushroom, dried fruit over smashed chick peas, or fish with uszka , pierogi , peas and carrots, boiled potatoes except in Silesia, following a rhyme that states that bad luck ensues if one eats potatoes on Christmas Eve , mushroom cream sauce, sauerkraut, and makowiec poppy seed rolled cake.
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Most households leave an empty plate at the table for an unexpected guest. Straw or hay is usually on the table to symbolise the manger. Some people place one scale from the carp in the wallet for financial success in the following year. During the season, pierniczki, or honey ginger cookies, are baked. Traditionally in Portugal the family gets together around the table on Christmas Eve to eat boiled dried-salted cod accompanied with boiled cabbage or greens varying with what they have in the garden left over, boiled potatoes, boiled onions, boiled eggs, and chickpeas.
Sometimes a simple dressing is made with onions, garlic or parsley. This meal is accompanied with generous amounts of olive oil. There are variations across the country and, traditionally, turkey  sometimes also pork in some regions is served for lunch on the 25th. Romanian food served during the holidays is a large multi-coursed meal, most of which consists of pork organs, muscle, and fat. This is mainly a symbolic gesture for St. Ignatius of Antioch. During Christmastime, Romanians bake or buy various special dishes, including desserts, sweets or fries.
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Romanians most usually bake Cozonac , a cake made of flour, yolks , yeast and many other dependable ingredients, flavors, condiments and additions. There are several types of cozonac, with numerous recipes. Other Christmas dishes include piftie , sarmale or pork dishes. Christmas dinner in Slovakia is celebrated on 24 December; dinner takes place at around 5 to 6 pm.
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