Here at Noja, we thrive on a fusion of cultures, pulling from across the world to create a unique culinary atmosphere. The holidays are such a wonderful time to highlight different cultures by celebrating traditions from around the world. With that in mind, here are a few unique and fun holiday traditions our staff and customers love to observe.
It’s more than just a song and it doesn’t mark the days leading up to December 25. Instead the 12-day celebration begins on the 25th and lasts until January 6—or Epiphany, the day the three wise men arrived and Jesus was baptized. This is when the bulk of the holiday is celebrated and most won’t begin any sort of tradition until well after the calendar has turned to December. This model is still followed in most of Europe. Just don’t tell the American stores who like to begin in October.
In Denmark, December 24 isn’t complete without a dance. Families will join hands and dance in a circle around their tree while singing classic carols. Once the dances are done, it’s time for presents!
While not as observed along the Gulf Coast, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is one of the largest celebrations worldwide. One of the most recognizable ways to observe the eight-night festival of lights is by the lighting of the menorah. Each night, observers light a candle to honor oil lasting during the Jewish Maccabees rededicating their temple.
Looking for a new fusion dish to pair with the Christmas ham? Take a page from the South Africans and dig into your garden. In that country, locals like to deep-fry the caterpillar of the Emperor Moth for a special festive treat.
This German ritual has become popular around the globe as a favorite game. Hide the pickle (find a faux toy like pickle to avoid any moldy or stinky vegetables) amongst the tree branches. On Christmas morning, the first to find the pickle gets to open the first gift.
Portugal holds one of the more touching customs with their Christmas morning breakfast. At that special meal, there is one plate that will go unused. That setting is there to remember those in the family that have passed in the last year.
In Sweden, rice pudding is a classic holiday dish. But they put their own Swedish twist inside with an almond…only one though. In much the same vein as Mobile’s Mardi Gras king cake or a bridal cake trinket pull, the lucky recipient of the dish with the almond is said to find himself or herself married in the next year.
Pudding apparently plays a role in several Christmas traditions. In Slovakia, the home’s oldest male will take a spoonful of Loska and throw it up at the ceiling, because why not? The more pudding that sticks, the better the fortune of the upcoming year.
These are just a few of the unique and fun holiday traditions our staff and customers love to observe. The most important part about this time of year is creating the memories and traditions that will last for you and your family. Let Noja help by becoming one of your new culinary customs this holiday season.
Noja is a Mediterranean-Asian fusion restaurant in the heart of downtown Mobile with an ever-evolving menu. Call us at 251-433-0377 to make a reservation today then visit at 6 N. Jackson St. in Mobile, AL.
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