Whether it’s a roast turkey from the Americas or traditional English Christmas pudding, it seems that everything on our Aussie Christmas table comes from somewhere else.  But why do we eat it, and where is it from? 

Here’s a quick Christmas guide to some familiar, and not so familiar, festive foods from all over the world eaten in Australia every year.

Ham has long been central to the Yuletide feast. Thought to have originated among Germanic-speaking peoples in medieval times, the Christmas ham has long been a symbol of abundance and celebration.

Give a traditional dish a fresh twist by adding this simple Coca-Cola glaze: rub 1 cup of brown sugar into the fat side of your ham. Next, pour 1 ½ cups of Coca-Cola over your ham, followed by 1 cup of crushed pineapple. Bake for 3 hours at 230 degrees Celsius.

Joulupöytä is a festive version of the Swedish smorgasbord, enjoyed in Finland on Christmas eve. The Joulupöytä includes a Christmas ham served with mustard, liver casserole, carrots or potatoes, and pickled herring. Dessert consists of rice pudding and gingerbread, and it’s all washed down with glögi, or warm mulled wine.

Wigilia is the traditional Polish Christmas Eve feast consisting of 12 dishes representing the 12 apostles. The meat-free menu usually includes beetroot soup or barszcz, cabbage and mushroom dumplings, crepes, and sweets made with poppy seeds. It’s said that the Poles refrain from eating meat on Christmas Eve as a reminder that Jesus was born to a poor family.

This story was originally published on 16/12/13.