You know fall has arrived when pumpkin spiced lattes become your drink of choice—but that seasonal drink isn’t the only indication fall is officially here. Read on to find out how different cultures celebrate fall’s arrival and then have some fun today with your kids recreating these worldly eats (think toffee apples and moon cakes) in honor of Autumn Equinox.

photo: Michael Cramer via flickr

1. Germany– Pretzels, Sausages Potato Pancakes, Sauerkraut

No other autumn festival is as famed as Oktoberfest. This Bavarian celebration was originally a festival for royals until an agricultural show was added to the mix. As a result, there’s now a wide variety of food, from grilled ham hocks to sauerkraut, that your kiddo can choose from. Pretzels with a cheese dip definitely makes as a nice go-to snack.

Where to find: Auntie Anne’s has great pretzels, or get in true Bavarian style and head to a family friendly brewery for dinner.

photo: J Marsh via flickr

2. Great Britain–Toffee Apples
Nothing says autumn like apples. In Great Britain, toffee apples are associated with autumn festivals. You won’t see a harvest festival or Guy Fawkes Night without them, so why not share a that sweet, crunchy treat with your little after school?

Where to find: Your local sweet shop may have them, or simple follow this easy recipe from Essentially England (you can skip the red food coloring).

photo: ulterior epicure via flickr

3. China & Vietnam–Mooncakes
Lanterns, storytelling, the chance to stay past bedtime… Mid Autumn Festival is fabulous celebration with equally delish food. Mooncakes are a round pastry with a sweet paste. As a cultural and historical staple for Chinese and Vietnamese families, they are typically cut into wedges and shared.

Where to find: Your local Chinese bakery will have started selling them early September.

photo: Kirsten Skiles via flickr

4. USA –Acorns
Chumash, a Native American cultural group from Southern California, celebrates Autumn right after their harvest is done. Their festival, known as “Hutash,” is honored after acorns are gathered. If you can get your hands on acorn flour, acorn pancakes are the way to go.

Where to find: Unfortunately, acorns are mostly a foraging project. If you luckily live near oak trees then your little squirrels can hunt for acorns after school. Cooking blog Cupcake Project has great tips on finding, treating and making acorn flour.

photo: MM Chicago via flickr

5. Israel–Kreplach
Sukkot falls around autumn equinox this year. This Jewish holiday is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals where Israelites make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Kerplach, small dough squares of meat filled dough, is traditionally served during this festival. Eat them for dinner!

Where to find: Dumplings are easy to find and make. For a quick cook, use this recipe that uses wonton wrappers (skip the soy dressing and cook in a chicken broth) or follow this traditional one by Chabad.

photo: « R☼Wεnα » via flickr

6. France–Chestnuts
Ooh la la, who knew that the French celebrate autumn with an annual Chestnut Festival? Their love for chestnuts are much like our love for apples during sweater weather. Roast them in the oven for a unique after school treat.

Where to find: Call your local Whole Foods to see if chestnuts are in stock. If you get them, follow this recipe on how to peel and roast these yummy nuts.

photo: Run Mizumushi-Kun via flickr

7. Japan–Dango or Sweet Potato
Tsukimi festival in Japan is all about honoring the autumn moon. Foods for eating include chestnuts and rice dumplings with a sweet-salty sauce called dango.

Where to find: Dangos can be found at your local Japantown. If this item is unavailable, consider nomming on sweet potatoes, which are traditionally offered to the full moon as a prayer for a full harvest.

— Christal Yuen


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