What Types of Food Do People Make for the Holidays?

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Speciality foods take the stage during the holidays.

Bryan Tran, Reporter

Often there is a myriad of foods for which people make for the Holiday. Often the best food around this time comes from religion and other cultures. Even though most people don’t celebrate many holidays other than Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa during this time of year, many people have general religious and cultural cuisine that they eat during these special occasions. As the end of the year feels extra special for Americans, there are many different foods eaten from all cultures.

Often, food eaten has its own background and history. One food eaten during Hanukkah is Sufganlyot. Sufganlyot is a  deep-fried pastry that is basked in poured sugar and filled with sweet jelly. For Jewish people, it is meant to symbolize the “miracle of oil”.  Oil is important to Hanukkah because it symbolizes a historic moment for which a menorah, nine candles standing within a holy temple, lasted eight days during the Maccabean revolt. Under deeper subtext, Sufganlyot’s name is based on Talmud description of spongy dough. Sufganiyot aren’t the only fried food people eat for Hanukkah. From fritters, latkes (fried potato cake), and the basic fried donut, there are many fried foods that people eat for Hanukkah.

One food eaten in Greece for New Year is Vasilopita. Vasilopita is baked cake or bread, but a small selection has a coin shoved in it. Vasilopita is a sort of communal game. The person who gets the baked vasilopita with the coin in it is considered to be blessed with good luck for the rest of the year.

In earnest, there is a large variety of food made and eaten in the Chinese New Year such as dumplings, fried rice, and noodles. Noodles are understood in Taoism to symbolize longevity. Dumplings symbolize wealth because it appears similar to the Chinese ingots and other currency of trade. 

Eggnog is a special drink often reserved for the holidays. Being served hot, winter is considered the best time to drink eggnog. Though the history of eggnog is generally argued over, it is believed that eggnog was a version of a “posset” from medieval Britain. A posset is a hot drink made from milk, curdled ale, and lemon juice, but noticeably doesn’t include eggs. It Cider is another highly popular drink for the holiday season. Compared to apple juice, apple cider (or just cider), has not been filtered to remove pulp or sediments from the apple. The first time the cider was made was in Roman times. In historic times, Julius Caesar found Celtic Britons fermenting cider around 55 CBE.

Another questionable food eaten for the holidays are gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread cookies are made with a collection of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon with a large dose of either sweet molasses, honey, or sugar. Ginger root was considered to be farmed five thousand years ago in China for its medicinal properties. But gingerbread, however, is thought to have originated from Armenian monks who brought it over to Europe in 992 CE. The creation of gingerbread houses comes from Germany around the 16th century. Gingerbread houses only rose in popularity thanks to the story of Hansel and Gretel, a story made in 1812, in which the characters come across a house made of treats.

Kwanzaa was a holiday initially made to rebel against the commercialism of Christmas for African Americans. Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated near the end of the year (December 26 

– January 1) which celebrates African American heritage and tradition. It offers up food like African creole, jerk chicken, cajun catfish, and groundnut stew.