Occasion is a reigious or social event that is observed by people all over the world for different purposes and often, special food is prepared on that day. The foods that are eaten on an occasion are often associated with the history of the event and are a mandatory part of the special menu designed for the purpose. All cultures of the world have their own prescribed set of occasions for which they prepare cuisine-specific foods. In modern times, there is an inter-mingling of foods from different cuisines on the special fare.
As such, there are numerous preparations made to mark different occasions in different parts of the world. Some such foods are-
1) Customary preparations that herald various festivals, for instance-
i) Jiaozi are Chinese Dumplings made on New Years’ eve; Moon cakes are made to enjoy the New Moon festival.
ii) Traditional ‘Pongal’ is made with rice and lentils in Southern India signifying the harvest festival by the same name.
iii) Greek Easter Bread consisting of a tender, buttery, crumbed bread with a delicate flavour of anise and orange.
2) Foods to commemorate special occasions-
a) St. Patrick’s Day with traditional Irish recipes feature a distinct touch of green, the colour of the day.
b) Christmas is an occasion celebrated with traditional plum cakes, candies, trifles, puddings.
c) Thanksgiving is the occasion when the whole family comes together to celebrate togetherness over drinks, turkey, shepherd’s pie and other such dishes that form part of an elaborate spread.
d) Easter is the occasion symbolised by Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns.
e) Halloween, the time when Owl cakes and Halloween cupcakes make an appearance along with other biscuits, candies and tarts that children specially enjoy.
f) The 4th of July in North America marks the occasion of American Independence. Buffalo Wings, Hot-dogs, Barbecues, Strawberry Short Cakes, Salads, Ice creams, Parfaits, Pies, Cookies, Beverages and even Burgers are made in the tri-colors of the American flag.
g) In India, special occasions like festivals are celebrated not only with savoury snack foods but also with innumerable sweet delicacies. Ladoos, pedas, burfis, jalebis are all common sweet treats prepared on special occasions.
3) Foods for Weddings and Birthdays-
These foods are of course prepared taking into account the likes and dislikes of the individuals directly involved for whom these occasions are being celebrated. These include-
a) Special Cakes
b) Beverages or Cocktails
c) Finger Foods
d) Main meals which may consist of an elaborate Buffet Spread
An interesting fact is that wheat noodles (or milguksu) are considered specialty foods created mainly for birthdays, weddings or similar auspicious occasions. This is because the elongated and even shape of these noodles is thought to be associated with longevity and continuing marital bliss.