Tradition dictates that we not only follow what we eat on Christmas Day but also on Christmas Eve.
According to The Guardian “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, people ate baked ham, burritos, fish pie and tikka masala. This is Britain: where Christmas dinner is all mapped out, but Christmas Eve is a culinary free-for-all. I have relatives for whom 24 December isn’t complete without steak and chips. Others insist on Indian takeaway, while for years my friends and I celebrated at a Tex-Mex restaurant (because nothing says Christmas like a chimichangas).“
Apparently, in a large number of European Countries, they commemorate Christmas Eve with an enormous feast, However, in Britain, we don’t have traditional food to eat on Christmas Eve. Eating habits have been traditionally dictated by religion. Christmas wasn’t a public holiday in Scotland until 1958, so there’s no long-established history of festive eating on Christmas Eve. In England, the Puritans also banned the celebration of Christ’s Mass. But, unlike Scotland, Christmas traditions revived after the monarchy was restored.
A popular Christmas Eve dish is fish, particularly fish pie. “This is a Catholic tradition related to the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but no one seems to know many Brits, Catholic or otherwise, still eat fish on Christmas Eve. Ham is also popular. “It’s an old tradition linked to the Martinmas slaughter of the animals people couldn’t afford to feed during the winter.
Other dishes like Spiced beef are on the menu at Irish blogger and author Niamh Shields‘s house and many Italians prepare a multi-course fish-based dinner like the Italians, Scandinavians also hold their main feast on the 24th. The Swedes serve sumptuous julbord, they have a table laden with pickles and preserves. Pickled herring is the most important component, then boiled eggs and Löjrom.
For me personally, my Mum always made a traditional hot pot on Christmas Eve and it was something I continued making for many years then as the children grew up and went out we would just have whatever we fancied.