People, especially their time and energy, are consumed with the search for and production of food.  Rightly so since the consumption of food is a basic need for all people.  The consumption of food, though, often provides distinctiveness and identity.  For instance, Jewish and Islamic practices concerning food reveal their sense of belonging.

Festivals are no different.  The consumption of certain types of food during festivals is a common practice.  In fact, food is often so closely tied with festivals that when a certain type of food is not present it seems as though the festival was not even celebrated.  As a result, food provides festivals with distinctiveness and identity.  It provides the participant with a sense of belonging.

While in the USA this Christmas season, I will miss certain foods, making Christmas appear as though it was not even celebrated.  A few include:

Fish Head CurryFish Head Curry

My favorite and a tradition that I have developed over the Christmas season.  Thus far, in the USA, I have found only one resturant (in New York city) that makes fish head curry, the spicy dish with lots of “lady fingers” (okra).  The eye ball is my favorite, how about you?

Good Chinese Food

Chicken and Prawn HeadAnother tradition we have during the Christmas season is eating Chinese food in Singapore.  We always order Pai Gu Wang (Chinese BBQ pork ribs), Kai Lan (Chinese vegetable with garlic), Sweet and Sour Fish Filet, Roasted Chicken with Plum Sauce, and Butter Prawns (Shrimp).

We will especially miss the chicken and prawn head this Christmas season.


Red Velvet CakeI will miss my daughter’s famous red velvet cake.  Not too sweet but filled with lots of chocolate flavor.  Oh, and by the way, it does not have many calories, but who is counting anyway.  Maybe though, I won’t miss this one and my daughter will bake one for us.  I need to ask her to put this on her To-Do list.

Pumpkin PiePumpkin pie, another of my favorite and one that I indulge in with too many pieces.  I reckon that I won’t miss my fair share of pumpkin pie this year.

Well, I am sure that our Singapore friends will miss these.

Singapore friends, I will miss your carving the turkey.  Carving TurkeyI reckon that is what I will miss the most this Christmas season, our Friends.

Each year we celebrate Christmas with friends, all of us giving thanks for the blessings during the year and also for the Lord Jesus Christ being Immanuel, God with us.

I will also miss all of the fun outings together during this Christmas season with friends in Singapore.  Friends for ChristmasI, along with my wife, look forward to celebrating Christmas with them in 2008.

Friends give meaning to a festival.  These social networks create a sense of belonging.  Without them, just like food, the festival appears as though it was not celebrated.  It becomes just another day during the year, a day that is not distinct. 

However, when these two – food and friends – are present, festivals stand out with distinctiveness and identity.  Festivals then provide a sense of belonging and each year become anticipated events.

What will you miss this Christmas season?  What food will you miss during this Christmas season?  What friends will you miss?