Catholics can eat meat on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, prior to 1983, Catholics did have to fast and abstain from meat on Christmas Eve. This change was the result of the 1983 Code of Canon Law that eliminated this Catholic practice.
Many Italian Catholics still keep the tradition of eating fish dishes on Christmas Eve. In Poland, Catholics also may still observe the fast and refrain from eating meat. A typical Polish Christmas Eve dinner can include foods like beet soup, dumplings made with potatoes and cheese and a fish dish.
Many Catholics in other countries around the world also have special or traditional meals on Christmas Eve. For example, in Denmark, a special rice pudding containing an almond and topped with either raspberry or cherry sauce is a traditional dessert. In France, special foods served can be crepes, oysters and a yule log-shaped cake.