If you’ve never spent time in South Africa during the festive season, you may wonder what to expect when it comes to Christmas dinner in the Rainbow Nation. Like any other country that observes Christmas, it is a time of the year when families come together to celebrate and be merry. This period is an exciting time for many South Africans.
Where do people eat?
From perfectly roasted gammon to boerewors straight off the BBQ, South Africa has several dishes that make up the yearly Christmas dinner and are enjoyed differently all around the nation. Some people may opt to go to restaurants which are often open on Christmas Eve, and have a set menu for those wishing to dine in. However, because of the peak season, the prices tend to be particularly high for the time of the year. For the majority, however, a hearty home cooked meal is preferred with people preparing in advance and taking advantage of deals found in places such as the Woolworths catalogue to keep costs low. They always have amazing deals on festive season must-haves such as Christmas fruit mince pies and easy to cook roasts.
What’s on the menu?
South Africa is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds which is a result of migration from different parts of the world. To say South Africa has one main traditional Christmas dish would be making it sound far too simplistic. Although South Africa has historical ties with Britain and the Dutch, there isn’t one particular traditional dish that the whole country observes. Rather, traditions differ from family to family. What you will find common is most families will prepare a huge Christmas dinner made up of a variety of meat dishes accompanied by vegetables, salad and different sides. Some may choose to have roast potatoes while others will go for the more traditional pap.
What do people do at the Christmas Dinner?
Because of the country’s Southern hemisphere location, Christmas comes round during the summer months where people can comfortably enjoy outdoors weather. When it comes to the main meal the day, South Africans tend to have their Christmas Dinner either on Christmas eve or on Christmas day. This means for most, unlike the traditional Christmas sit-down dinner, Christmas will be a day where people will have braais (BBQs) out in the sun due to favourable weather conditions.
The great thing about South African Christmas dinners is they are not entirely bound by rules of tradition. People make it work depending on where they are and who they are with. If you happen to be on the seaside, like Cape Town for instance, you may find yourself being served a Christmas dinner with a touch of seafood. Variety is the keyword when it comes to South African Christmas cuisine. Generally, Christmas in South Africa is all about family, friends, outdoors and food.
So, when it comes to a South African Christmas dinner, what should you expect? It’s fair to say expect the unexpected, prepare to be pleasantly surprised and have fun in the sun while enjoying the company of close friends and family