International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Memorial Day: Recipes and Traditions

Memorial Day parade

Image by Lori.D

In the United States, Memorial Day is a national holiday celebrating all those who have died in the nation's wars or while in the military. The holiday takes place on the last Monday in May, and the long weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for Americans.

When the holiday was first recognized, shortly after the American Civil War, it was known as Decoration Day. Over time people began calling it Memorial Day instead, and by the mid-20th century, the switch was complete.

A long tradition of family picnics in late spring predates Memorial Day, especially in the South. Favorite memorial day picnic dishes include grilled hamburgers, seasonal vegetables, potato salad and strawberry shortcake.

Many families also visit the gravesites of family and friends who are gone and lay flowers or other mementos. Small-town Memorial Day parades with a strong veteran element are a long-standing American tradition, The famous Indianapolis 500 car race is run every Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day Recipes

Try these recipes for a Memorial Day backyard barbecue or for munching as you watch the parade go by.

Satay Ayam

Satay Ayam (Indonesian chicken skewers with peanut sauce)

(Indonesian chicken skewers with peanut sauce)


Dolmathes (Greek grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat)

(Greek grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat)


Shashlik (Central Asian grilled skewered lamb)

(Central Asian grilled skewered lamb)


Tabaka (Georgian chicken under a brick)

(Georgian chicken under a brick)


Cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and onion

(American grilled beef patty sandwiches)


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