Love & Prayer

Religious Symbolism of Food

Religious Symbolism of Food

Food brings people together. It provides an opportunity to come together and build relationships while also defining cultures. 

Dietary practices are shaped by culture and religious beliefs. In celebration of this gastronomic diversity, let’s explore a few of the sacred dietary practices from around the world.

Gulab Jamun 

This is a milk-solid based sweet from the Indian subcontinent and very popular in India. This dish is mostly eaten in major celebrations and festivals like Diwali. This one is one of my favorite ones. If you ever have the opportunity to try this make sure you try it over some rice pudding, it just takes it over the top; Yumm… delicious!

German Blitz Torte 

Known in Germany and Austria as Blitz Kuchen or Lightning Cake, the name refers to the fact that you can make two cakes at once. Traditional this cake is baked for Easter Sunday. Topped with merengue and tossed almonds.

Honey Bread 

This is a traditional Bulgarian Christmas Eve bread topped with honey. Traditionally a coin is baked into the bread to symbolize prosperity and abundance in the coming year. A Bulgarian Christmas table is filled with fruits, nuts, beans and vegetables, honey and wine as well, basically foods that the earth presents to us. The center piece is the ritual bread which is usually decorated with wheat symbolizing fertility and flowers.

Matzah Ball Soup 

This is a typical staple of Passover. It’s made with dumplings that are served in chicken broth. While this is usually eaten during Passover, many families eat it during almost every Jewish holiday. The Matzah Balls are made from a mixture of matzah meal, eggs, water and fat such as oil, margarine or chicken fat. 


A pretzel is a type of baked pastry made out of dough and shaped into a knot and most commonly topped with salt. It is believed to have Christian backgrounds, invented by monks as a reward to children who learned their prayers. The strips of the dough were folded to resemble children sitting with their arms crossed at the chest praying. There are many versions of the origins of the pretzel but within the Christian church, they are regarded as having religious significance for their ingredients and shape. They can be eaten during Lent when Christians are forbidden to eat eggs, lard of day products.

Whatever your traditions or how ever you celebrate, I wish you the most wonderful holiday season, with lots of special moments with family and friends and of course, lots of great food.

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