As the festive season approaches, we take you on a little trip around the globe and look at the various end-of-year celebrations – and of course what’s on the menu!
All over the world, people come together to celebrate with their family and friends, with the nature of these celebrations as diverse as the cultures themselves. From India’s sparkling Diwali to the festive magic of Christmas, each tradition reveals the uniqueness and shared values of humanity.
Diwali: The splendour of lights in India
Our journey of discovery begins in India with the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. This festival, which always takes place between the end of October and mid-November, is a visual spectacle of candles, flowers and colourful garlands. It symbolises the victory of light over darkness and honours Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. On Diwali, people traditionally eat deep-fried dumplings such as samosas or karanji. Of course, a traditional lentil curry is also a must.
Hanukkah: Candlelight and family time
The Jewish festival of lights Hanukkah, celebrated with the lighting of the menorah candles, is characterised by family gatherings. It celebrates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. Dishes such as sufganiyots and latkes baked in oil (very similar to our Gromperekichelcher) are traditionally served on the table. This is to commemorate the miracle of the temple oil. This eight-day festival begins at the end of November or beginning of December and symbolises light and hope.
Christmas: Worldwide joy
Christmas, characterised by decorated Christmas trees and festive get-togethers, is celebrated on 24, 25 and 26 December. In some Orthodox traditions, the date is moved to 6 and 7 January. Worldwide, this occasion symbolises the birth of Jesus and is a sign of charity and peace. The traditional Christmas meal varies from country to country. It can range from Christmas goose and game in Central Europe to traditional meatless Christmas menus such as in Poland. Here in Luxembourg fondue and raclette are becoming increasingly popular.
New Year’s Eve: Global zero hour
One week after Christmas, the world experiences the transition into the new year. With fireworks and festivities, New Year’s Eve marks a moment of new beginnings. Rituals and traditions, such as wearing red underwear in Italy or smashing porcelain in Denmark, are said to bring good luck in the new year. Raclette and fondue are also very popular on New Year’s Eve, while those who prefer something more traditional can opt for caviar or foie gras.
Chinese New Year: Zodiac signs and traditions
The Chinese New Year, a highlight in countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand, begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This festival, which can last up to 16 days, is characterised by red decorations and loud fireworks to drive away evil spirits. The main dishes on the table are intended to bring good luck for the new year: Fish for success, jiaozi and spring rolls for wealth, sweet rice balls for family gatherings, fruit for prosperity, noodles for a long life and rice cakes for respect. Each year is celebrated under a new sign of the zodiac, which also carries a special meaning.
All these festivities reflect the deep-rooted traditions and cultural richness of our world, where coming together with loved ones, festive food and bright decorations are universal pleasures.