* In collaboration with Amanda Lima, Belisa Tham, Cristiano Goulart, Diana Vivatti, Laura Xavier, Renata Carvalho and Thais Baldaso.
The clock is only five o’clock in the afternoon, but darkness is already beginning to cover many European cities, especially in the north of the continent. On the streets, the sun shines on thousands of small lanterns that create a traditional Christmas atmosphere. From the trees on the main Boulevard in Dublin to the Greek Christmas boats. Everything is covered with lights of very different colors and shapes. At Christmas markets, traditional, local food and products from many countries attract many visitors to the year-end festivities.
Unlike Brazil, where parties are held in the middle of summer, in Europe, the low temperatures and snow of the season mark many places. However, many customs are similar to those of the Brazilians.
The main similarities are in areas of Catholic heritage, such as Portugal, which has the largest Brazilian community in Europe. Christmas is celebrated with family, the traditional dinner of yesterday. On the other hand, the recipe is consistent with typical Portuguese dishes. One of the unavoidable dishes is cod, which is usually baked in the oven with olive oil or cream and served with sides and French toast.
For dessert, the Portuguese usually serve bolo rai, which is similar to the panatone, which is widely used by Brazilians in December. In addition to the big party at the table on Christmas Eve and the handing over of gifts, Mass on the 25th is also an important part of the celebration in Portugal.
In neighboring Spain, which includes five European regions with the highest number of Brazilian immigrants, Christmas is not to be missed in terms of traditional customs. In addition to the decorations, lighting and nativity scenes, the typical dishes of Spanish cuisine are not to be missed.
The other day, the Spaniards called it “noche buena” and opened a special menu to satisfy the hunger for sausages such as black pudding, chorizo or sausages, and “jamon” made with Iberian pork. For the main course, you can not miss the roast lamb, turkey or even suckling pork. In some areas, such as the Basque Country, fish is often served as an accompaniment to seafood. Seafood sausage and shrimp recipes often make up the Basque table. The most popular dessert on Christmas Eve is “Turon”, a blend of sugar, honey and almonds served in bars.
Christmas customs in France
The most visited country by Brazilians in Europe gets a special magic during the Christmas season. Paris, the capital of France, is brighter and more festive, while popular Christmas markets throughout the region set the tone for the celebration traditionally followed by the French.
House customs on the 24th are different in many parts of France. In Brittany, for example, a wood-burning stove, decorated with holy water and salt, is burned. Superstition is about ensuring the protection of the home. In Burgundy, a fire is lit at the entrance to the house to symbolize the warmth of the Virgin Mary at the time of Jesus’ birth. On the tables, white tablecloths and candles are used.
Christmas dinner in France may also vary, but some preparations are classics across the country. This is the case with turkey stuffed with spices and meat, along with roasted chestnuts and roasted potatoes. Lobsters, oysters, smoked salmon, foie gras and veal medallions are still commonly served.
In Provence, Christmas dinner is a real feast. Maria offers seven dishes that represent the pain she experienced during childbirth, 13 breads and 13 desserts as a side dish. In general, no dish has red meat. However, in Burgundy, dinner includes boiled eggs with wine sauce, hashbrowns and escarcoats.
In all regions, the main drink of the date is sparkling wine. The most popular dessert is the bushe de noel, a chocolate-wrapped fruit roll. The delivery of gifts under the Christmas trees usually takes place on the morning of December 25th.
Christmas with snow: Christmas traditions in the coldest countries in Europe
Christmas markets are the main tradition in Germany, where snow usually begins to fall in mid – December. To maintain warmth, the Germans drank a lot of mulled wine with spices during this period. Red or white wine is used in its preparation, as it is traditionally called “glühwein”.
In addition to the alcoholic beverages on the menu on the 25th, German dinner recipes with boiled sausages and potato salad will be very traditional. At more elaborate dinners, there are dishes like roast gouache or duck with options for filling with apples, chestnuts, onions and plums. Side dishes are usually boiled potatoes and red cabbage.
Sweets are an important part of Christmas dinner. The most sought after items are usually the “Stolen” pancakes and the delicious butter cookies. In fact, in the sixteenth century, the famous gingerbread houses originated in Germany, which became a tradition in the homes of many European families.
In Poland, the temperature is negative even on the date, snow is common on Christmas morning, Catholic rites are notable, and unity is a metaphor for the poles. Proof of this is the fact that at the dinner table on the 24th, there is always an extra resource to welcome family, friends and neighbors who may come at the last minute.
The rituals of “Vigilia”, also known as Christmas Eve, begin with home preparations and chores, which must be done until the first star, symbolizing the star of Bethlehem, appears in the sky. , When everyone expresses a desire for prosperity and health. The most traditional way to celebrate the night is to prepare 12 dishes, according to the apostles and the months of the year.
In Poland, generally, red meat is not eaten on December 24th. Typical dishes include beetroot soup (barszcz), carp and other fish, as well as porridge (a kind of fried pastry), sauerkraut, and cabbage bundles (gołąbki). Gifts are handed out after dinner. For Catholic families, it is still customary to go to church for Mass at midnight after the feast, Pastorca.
UK and Ireland: Celebrations on the 25th only
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Brazilians can see a significant difference when it comes to celebrating Christmas. On the afternoon of December 25 (lunch and dinner are considered by the host), the tradition is to have dinner only on Christmas Eve. Among the countries that are part of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – it is also customary to follow Queen Elizabeth’s sermon.
Gifts are handed out in the morning on Christmas day, usually left under a tree at night. In Ireland, on the night of December 24th, families with small children watch themed movies, all wearing pajamas with the same Christmas prints. Adults, on the other hand, gather with friends at local pubs. On Christmas Day, virtually all establishments in the country will be closed, public transportation will not be available, and even the airport will have no flights.
In a similar vein, traditional Christmas turkey is common in their typical dinner dishes in the United Kingdom and Ireland. For the British, the act of cutting the turkey was one of the most anticipated moments, known in English as “engraving”, or “engraving”. It is also common to serve meats such as ham or roast beef, and small sausages wrapped in bacon as a starter.
Another traditional UK dish is “Yorkshire Pudding”, which is made with beaten eggs, milk and wheat flour. The most common supplements are “stuffing” similar to Brazilian pharaoh and various sauces for meat. Red or white wine, mulled wine and beer are the most widely consumed beverages, second only to Ireland.
For dessert, traditional “Christmas pudding”, dried fruit cake, “mince pies” and candied fruit tarts are served, which is combined with a cup of tea or a glass to announce the arrival of Christmas. Wine to finish dinner.
Easter is celebrated in Greece on the 25th of December, just as in the rest of the world, following the Gregorian calendar. As in the Orthodox Church, as in the UK and Ireland, the feast is held at noon on the 25th.
On this occasion, decorated garlands and garlic cloves will be hung outside the houses for protection. Next to the Christmas tree, it is common to find decorated miniature boats, which in the past symbolized the anticipation of family sailors. Another custom is to burn a large pine in the oven to “warm the hearts of the believers.” According to the Greeks, flames refer to the fire in which Jesus heats a baby in a cold cave in Bethlehem.
At lunch, fried pork or stuffed turkey is usually served. In villages far from the big cities, hosts follow more traditional recipes, such as puff pastry and spinach pie “Spanakopita”. There is also a ceremony in the preparation of a traditional Christmas bread, which is decorated with a cross and served by the hostess to everyone who attends the meal.
Another interesting habit occurs throughout Greece on the morning of December 24th. To celebrate the approaching date of Jesus’ birth, children often play Christmas carols on the doors of neighboring houses. Instead, children receive symbolic money and sweets from their neighbors.
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