All over the world, different religions involve food within their cultural practices. Often these religious traditions are holy celebrations centred around a feast, or in some cases, abstaining from eating certain foods due to teachings form their book of worship.

Here are some interesting religious traditions involving food:

Passover is a Jewish 8-day holiday which marks when the Israelites were freed from slavery in ancient Egypt. The highlight of this holiday is a Sedar- a huge meal that begins with the retelling of the departure of the slaves from Egypt. Different dishes are served which each symbolise the story.

A passover table set

Matzo is type of an unleavened bread. Each person gets three- one to be broken (as a slave would), and two to recite the Hamotzi blessing. They represent the three groups of Jews- Priests, Levites and Israelites.

Matzo bread

Maror- bitter herbs, are eaten to symbolise the bitterness of the slavery that was endured. A hard-boiled egg is also served to each person. This represents the pre-holiday offering that was brought to the holy temple.

At Sedar, there is also a special plate in the middle of the table which plates foods which are not actually eaten. For example, there is a singed egg and a lamb shank bone.

Other common dishes include Charoset- a mixture of apples, pears, nuts and wine to resemble the brick and mortar made by the slaves, and Karpas, vegetables- usually parsley, which alludes to the backbreaking of the Jews as slaves.

Many Muslims fast during a period named Ramadan. This is a month long holiday where people don’t eat from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Those fasting will have a pre-fast meal, named Suhoor, and a post fast meal, named Iftar, which are shared with family and friends.

An Iftar spread

Dishes served vary from family to family, but there are a few common dishes served. Suhoor often includes a dish name ful medames (stewed flava beans), tahini, falafel, feta cheese, olives, omelette with tomatoes and onions and flatbread topped with spices, named Manakish.

Iftar feasts often consist of many curries, breads, and rice dishes. A real banquet to feed everyone who has not eaten a thing all day. There is one thing that many Muslims say you will find on an Iftar table- samosas. These are a fried, flaky pastry filled with a spiced potato and pea filling.


In Christianity, there is not a standout holiday revolving around food, but there is multiple traditions carried out with food as symbolism. Well known traditions include, harvest, Christmas and advent feasts. There are also some other less renown ones.

Bread and wine are associated with the last supper which Jesus had. In church, bread and wine is often exchanged during communion to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made by being crucified.

Bread and wine shared at communion

In Christianity, there is also a celebration of Christingle. This is a joyous affair that brings communities together to share the light of Jesus and spread messages of hope. Traditionally, a Christingle is made- which is an orange, symbolic of the world, wrapped in red ribbon is symbolic of the love and blood of Christ and the sweets represent all of Gods creations. A lit candle is put in the centre to symbolise Jesus’ light.

A Christingle orange

In Buddhism, food is prepared as a spiritual exercise with attention to balance, harmony and delicacy. At all times in the year, Buddhists follow conscious eating and are mindful when making and eating their food. They are also mostly vegetarian due to the teachings of the Buddha who advised monks to avoid eating ten kinds of meat for self-respect and protection.

Buddhist monks worshipping

There are of course, countless religious traditions and practices involving food in almost every religion. It shows how food can bring people together, symbolise historic events and be a great celebration of belief.