Holiday Recipes, Celebrations and Traditions

Holidays | Junkanoo Festival

All the world loves a holiday! At the least we get a day off work, at most grand celebrations and quality time with family and friends. On a deeper level, holidays often ask us to look back at a shared history.

Image Creative Commons by Jef Nickerson

Holidays and celebrations give us a time for coming together as a community, remembering loved ones passed or giving thanks to our God.

Food is almost always part of any holiday celebration. Good food at its best is a shared experience, and holiday food traditions are a social glue that binds cultures together.

Holidays Around the World

Chinese New Year: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Chinese New Year Lion Dance

Gung Hay Fat Choy!! So goes the traditional Chinese New Year greeting, wishing peace and prosperity. Also called the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, the Chinese have long celebrated this period marking the end of winter and the hope of a new spring. Read more »

Christmas: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Christmas | Gingerbread House

The celebration of Christmas takes place on December 25th every year. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Christians consider the Son of God and Savior of mankind. Favorite Christmas traditions include exchanging gifts with family and friends, lighting and decorating Christmas trees, singing carols, drinking eggnog and baking all manner of sweets and treats. Read more »

Día de los Muertos: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Day of the Dead Image

El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that falls on November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebration may be Christian on the surface, but ts origins lie in ancient Zapotec and Maya rituals of ancestor worship. Read more »

Diwali, or Deepavali: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Diwali

Diwali is the Indian Festival of Lights. The holiday generally falls in October or November and celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. The force of good is symbolized with candles, lanterns, elaborate light displays and lots of fireworks. Read more »

Easter: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Easter Eggs

The spring holiday of Easter is the holiest day on the Christian calendar. Easter commemorates the day Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion, symbolizing the spiritual resurrection of all Christians. Read more »

Halloween: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Halloween | Scary Pumpkin

The spooky rituals of Halloween have their origins in the ancient Celtic harvest festivals of northwestern Europe. Irish immigrants brought the holiday to American shores in the 19th century, where it has been popular ever since. In the last two decades, Halloween has become an increasingly global affair as children everywhere dress up in costumes and knock on doors for "tricks or treats." Read more »

Hanukkah: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Hanukkah Image

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in 165 BCE after its desecration by Antiochus IV. The priests had only enough oil to keep the eternal flame lit for one day, but miraculously, it burned for eight days. Read more »

Kwanzaa: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Kwanzaa Image

The period from December 26 through January 1 marks Kwanzaa, a week-long holiday celebrating the ancestral roots of African-Americans. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili words for "first fruits." The tradition was created in 1966 by civil rights activist Ron Karenga. Read more »

Labor Day: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Labor Day Image

Labor Day is an American holiday that traditionally marks the last weekend of the summer. Vacations have ended and the kids are going back to school, and Labor Day is a final chance to get out and enjoy a picnic or a barbecue with family and friends. Read more »

Mardi Gras: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Mardi Gras Masks

"Laissez les bon temps rouler!" So goes the traditional Mardi Gras cry in New Orleans to "let the good times roll!" Pre-Lenten celebrations were brought to Louisiana territory in the 18th century from French Catholic traditions. Mardi Gras parades and masked balls have grown into a world famous festival with revelry, debauchery and fine food. Read more »

Nowruz: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Nowruz Haft Sin Table

The ancient Persian spring festival of Nowruz, Persian for "new day," is considered the beginning of the New Year not only in Iran, but throughout Central Asia. The holiday falls on the first day of spring, usually March 21st, and celebrations continue for 13 days. Read more »

Oktoberfest: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Oktoberfest Tent

Germany's world-famous Oktoberfest began in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of Bavarian Prince Ludwig to his beloved Therese. Every year several huge tents with picnic tables are set up in Munich's Theresienwiese, or Therese's Meadow, where local residents and visitors from around the world throw back enormous quantities of beer and sausages. Read more »

Passover: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Passover | The Seder

The time on the Jewish holiday calendar perhaps most associated with food is Passover, or Pesach. This weeklong spring holiday celebrates freedom from slavery under Pharaoh and the Exodus out of Egypt. The centerpiece of Passover is the Seder, a special meal with specific dishes to remind Jews of their origins. Read more »

Ramadan: Recipes and Traditions

Ingredients | Dates Image

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar and is a time of prayer, reflection, fasting (sawm) and self-sacrifice. Eating, drinking, smoking and even sexual relations are prohibited from sun-up to sundown (Maghrib). Read more »

Rosh Hashanah: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Rosh Hashanah Image

Rosh Hashanah, Hebrew for "head of the year," is the Jewish New Year and the first day of the High Holy Days. Usually falling in September or October, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of Man by God and is traditionally signalled by the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn. Read more »

St. Patrick's Day: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks

St. Patrick's Day is an Irish national holiday celebrating Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Legend holds that Patrick converted the pagan Irish to Christianity in the 5th century, in part by using the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. Read more »

Super Bowl: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Super Bowl Footbal Fans

Since 1967, the Super Bowl has been the Big Kahuna of all American sports events. The final championship game of the American football season is a time of mega hype, mega commercials and mega eating. Super Bowl Sunday — in late January or early February — has fans all over the country cooking up enormous pots of chili, huge mounds of nachos, boatloads of chicken wings and monster bowls chips, dips, spreads and salsas. Read more »

Thanksgiving: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Thanksgiving Hungry Boy

The American celebration of Thanksgiving stretches back almost 400 years to the year 1621, when English settlers at Plymouth Rock gave thanks for their first harvest. The Pilgrims held a feast together with members of the local Wampanoag tribe who had helped them avoid starvation the previous winter. Read more »

Valentine's Day: Recipes and Traditions

Holidays | Valentine's Day | Romantic Dinner

St. Valentine's Day is a time of velvet hearts, chocolate sweets, romantic dinners, lovers and lace. It's not clear who the original Valentine was — there were several — but a saint's day with that name was established on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar as early 1,500 years ago. Read more »