In Australia, Aotearoa, New Zealand and in other countries in that region children put up their stockings for the presents from Santa Claus. That is because Saint Nicholas not only is the Saint of the children, but the Saint of the ships. Once the children made paper ships and put them outside on Christmas Eve. Later they were replaced by shoes which have a resemblance with ships…. and from there it was not far to stockings which were able to hold more, too.
At that time on the Fiji Islands Christian missionaries were very successful. Today the inhabitants of the many hundred islands go to church on the morning of December 25th. Afterwards they enjoy the traditional Christmas dinner: a piglet cooked in an earth oven. Depending on the season and the climate you can build such an oven yourself. Dig a hole with a diameter of 90cm and a depth of 60cm. With branches and 20 to 25 wooden logs start a fire in the hole. Place around 50 orange size stones in the fire, and make sure they stay in the fire. When the fire has gone out remove the remaining logs. Warm stones can splinter when they get hot. The hot stones are now covered with split coconuts or fern leaves. The food is wrapped in banana, cabbage or rhubarb leaves. You can replace the natural material with a metal rack or aluminum foil. Root vegetable should be placed at the very bottom. Cover the food with two or three layers of green leaves and three to five moist burlap bags. The frying time is 2 to 3 hours depending on the amount of food being cooked. Serve on banana leaves.
In Papua New Guinea the Christmas feast resembles those from Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand, except for inhabitants who live in less accessible areas. On some Pacific islands traditional Christmas customs are mixed with Christmas myths from natives’ heritage. That does not only apply to religious practices, myths about goblins and elves have found their way into Maori culture.
The recipe from Fiji
Fish in coconut milk (serves 6 persons)
- 1kg firm seafish
- some scallions
- 400ml coconut milk
Divide fish in single servings and place them in broad pan. Cut scallions into small pieces, scatter over the fish. Pour coconut milk over the fish and let simmer covered for around 10 minutes till the fish is white and firm. Season with salt and caraway. TIP Serve with water rice and halves of limes.
Please serve with rice.
Quelle: Christmas cooking Hanne Kruse Fonaverlag