Culture Cruise

Bonfires, Mooncakes, Karneval, Eel and Waffles anyone?

by Padmini Chintakayala on Feb 01, 2023

Bonfires, Mooncakes, Karneval, Eel and Waffles anyone?

Food plays an integral part in cultural celebrations around the world. Whether it's to mark the start of spring, to celebrate the harvest season, or to mark the end of winter, food is often used as a way to bring people together, to honor tradition, and to celebrate the passage of time.

Imbolc An ancient Celtic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and other parts of the British Isles. The festival marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated with bonfires, candles, and food offerings. Traditional foods include dairy products like butter, cheese, and milk, as well as pancakes and bannocks.

Tet Trung Thu A mid-autumn festival celebrated in Vietnam that is centered around food and the harvest season. During the festival, families gather to eat mooncakes and sticky rice, and children carry lanterns made from rice paper through the streets.

Karneval A pre-Lenten festival celebrated in Germany, Austria, and other parts of Europe. The festival is marked by feasting, drinking, and merrymaking, with food and drink playing a central role in the celebrations. Traditional Karneval foods include donuts, pretzels, and roast pork.

Setsubun A Japanese festival that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. During the festival, families gather to eat a special meal of soybeans, grilled eel, and other foods, while also throwing roasted soybeans out the door to banish evil spirits.

Carnival of Binche A Belgian festival that takes place on the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The festival is known for its traditional Gilles costumes and the throwing of oranges into the crowd during the procession, along with waffles and chocolate being consumed.

Whether it's through feasting, offering of specific dishes, or eating traditional foods, food has a significant place in these celebrations and helps to bring communities together. Each festival is unique and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of different communities around the world.

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