In many countries around the world, food is an important part of Christmas tradition. The food that a family eats on Christmas day is often very symbolic and may have deep roots in the culture of a particular country. In some places, some dishes are reserved for Christmas, while in others, Christmas food is a mix of various national dishes and special desserts.
In Germany, Christmas dinner often features many different kinds of fish such as salmon, hake, herring, or carp. Other Christmas food items are roasted duck, lebkuchen (gingerbread) cookies, and pfeffernusse (spicy cookies). The Poles celebrate the night before Christmas with a feast of twelve traditionally symbolic dishes. This meal is called Wigilia. The foods eaten on this night include fish, sauerkraut soup, pierogi (dumplings), and other special items.
Hungarian and Austrian celebrate Christmas with a dinner of roasted goose where the family breaks their empty Christmas tree, symbolizing the start of new celebrations. In Russia and some other Eastern European countries, the main meal on Christmas day is roasted piglet. Turkey is often served as the main dish in countries such as Italy and France. In Italy, it is typical to celebrate on December 25th with a seafood dinner such as spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), while the Argentines eat 12 grapes at midnight for each of the 12 Apostles.
In Britain, mince pies, Christmas pudding, and a type of cake made with brandy called Christmas cake are all traditional treats. In Spain, a special pastry called the rosca is baked for Christmas during a religious ceremony known as La Festa de la Rosca. In Colombia, roasted turkey is served with fruit salad and panettone (Italian sweet bread). In the Philippines, a very special Christmas dish is adobo. This consists of chicken or pork cooked in a spiced vinegar and soy sauce mixture. In Germany, it is traditional to stuff sausages with prunes for December 24th dinner.