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The newspaper Haaretz reports that: Christian Arabs in Israel and the Palestine have their own culinary traditions.
The mezzes: – the table is laden with Arab classics like tabbouleh, fattoush and of course, hummus. And then it’s time to fire up the barbecue to prepare the meal’s centerpiece – grilled meats. Whole stuffed lambs, mounds of mutton ribs and a host of barbecued meats are some of the traditional Christmas dishes served by Arab Christians living in the land of Jesus.
[Christmas brings the whole, extended family together] over a meal, followed by midnight mass. The following day, on Christmas, there’ll be another large meal. “It’s a bit of a festive 24 hours.”
While their Muslim neighbors generally don’t drink, as alcohol is forbidden by Islam, “we as Christians tend also to drink some arak beforehand or whisky with the food.”
In northern Israel, the traditions are slightly different. There, they show the influences of Lebanese and Syrian cuisine. Festive dishes include Lebanese-style kubbeh – balls of kubbeh nayeh, a raw-meat dish similar to tartare, stuffed with a filling of cooked ground beef, onions and olive oil. On Christmas Day, the leftovers will be roasted in the oven to make another dish, kubbeh siniyeh.
Christians in the north generally don’t go to church for midnight mass, but rather only on Christmas morning. That means that Christmas Eve dinners can last well into the night. “By the end of the evening, everyone is drunk.”
But the party doesn’t end on December 25. if you are Eastern Orthodox, or a family member is. That means they’ll be celebrating Christmas again – and hosting their own meals – on Eastern Orthodox Christmas in two weeks.
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