Growing up, Christmas Eve was always my favorite day of the year. My mother’s side of the family was Italian, and it was relatively large, so there was always a big get together on Christmas Eve that was so fun for all of us. This half-holiday is celebrated across the world, and each area seems to have their own customs. Let’s take a look at how come cultures around the world celebrate Christmas Eve:
America – It is becoming more common for Americans to have this day off, as it is a popular day of travel as well as, for many, the true beginning of the holiday. TBS usually runs A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight. Many families give gifts of pajamas to their children at night to start the gift giving process.
Bulgaria – Bulgarians like to take things to their origin point – putting meals on top of hay and consuming them in a manger like setting. One of their favorite dishes for this night is also one of my favorites – stuffed peppers. They consume wine and rakia, their own alcoholic beverage.
Italy – For many Italians, or those of Italian heritage, the Feast of Seven Fishes is a big part of the evening. Many families add or subtract, but growing up, I remember having octopus, eel, shrimp, smelt, anchovies, baccala and calamari. This would be followed by Midnight Mass, though at this point.
Ukraine – Much like the Italian Feat of Seven Fish, a common dinner in the Ukraine is the Twelve Dish Supper. The types of foods are typically fish, mushrooms and grain, to keep hold to the Nativity Fast that many cultures around the world take part in during the holiday season.
My House – This past Christmas Eve began when I woke up at around 4PM, hungover from the previous nights party. We then watched The Night Before, and went to Crystal’s grandparents. When we got back, we opened up a present each, consisting of pajamas.
We plan to add more to this page over the next few months. What are your families traditions on Christmas Eve? Let us know in the comments.
Ideas you want to see on our site?
Sign up for our email list for site and store updates!