Holidays are a great occasion to feast on
plenty of food in good company!
Seasonal holidays are a great excuse to entertain your guests with savoury foods and decadent desserts! If you are lucky to attend a public celebration of a cultural holiday such as Lunar New Year or Diwali, you can sample foods usually served during the occasion. Whatever the holiday, there is always a dish or dessert to tantalize your senses and satisfy your stomach!

Lunar New Year is observed by the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans in late January or early February. A Lunar New Year meal varies between these countries. Chinese typically have bean curd or tofu, dumplings, dishes prepared with oranges, noodles, duck, chicken and fish. Of course, we cannot forget the sweet mooncakes! The Vietnamese normally have roasted watermelon seeds, meat stewed in coconut juice, sticky rice with meat or bean fillings, pickled onions or cabbage, and dried candied fruits – especially sliced coconuts! Koreans have steamed rice, rice cakes, pan-fried foods and kimchi as part of their Lunar New Year feast.

Roasted turkey or chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie make for the exquisite Thanksgiving meal!

Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah in December. They indulge in festive meals with foods fried in oil such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (ball-shaped donuts filled with jelly or custard) as the centerpiece. Other foods in a Hanukkah meal include beef brisket and matzoh ball soup.

Eid-Ul-Adha, also known as The Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice is observed by Muslims, marking the end of Ramadan. The celebrations move back 10-12 days every year. Food feasted on depends on the country observing this holiday. For example, in Indonesia, lapis legit (a rich layered cake), chicken, lamb or beef are consumed. In Somalia, a family lunch consists of rice with meat and vegetables, and pasta with anjera (a thin bread). In Iraq, a lamb may be sacrificed, and klaicha, a date filled pastry is enjoyed.

Diwali is the Festival of Lights observed by Indians every mid-October or mid-November. With such a diverse Indian population, foods served during Diwali vary. Besides biryani and tandoori, regional dishes such as prawn malai (Bangladesh), unhiyo (a vegetarian curry from the state of Gujarat), and paneer makhanealla (tangy cottage cheese curry from Northern India) are feasted on.

A sample Christmas meal would include roasted turkey or chicken, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, and an assortment of cookies. Christmas themed chocolate in the form of nicely packaged containers and advent calendars are sold in stores, alongside sought-after toys.

You can tell Valentine’s Day or Halloween is coming up when you see displays of heart shaped chocolate boxes or marshmallows shaped like ghosts in retailers. Typically, candy is exchanged between friends and loved ones during Valentine’s Day and children can collect candy from their neighbours after greeting them, “Trick or Treat!” on Halloween.