Christmas had been a midwinter festival celebrated in the darkest part of the year in many Western cultures, with each country developing its own particular foods and traditions. The most dramatic changes to Christmas traditions occurred in the southern hemisphere, where the reversal of the seasons left people celebrating their midwinter festival in the middle of summer. Adapting the occasion to the new location meant making big changes to the food that was eaten. The traditional Christmas meal in Australia, for example, became grilled turkey and seafood, cooked on a barbecue and enjoyed in the December sunshine. Celebrating Christmas on a warm Australian beach is a novel experience for a Northerner, but it is one of the reasons why traveling at this time of year can be particularly interesting. Seeing how traditions have changed in different parts of the world can make us look at our own Christmas dishes in a new way and inspire us to include a new dish in our own family holidays back home.
By Claire Cullen, a Freelance Writer.