Roast Chestnuts Day
annually on December 14th (since 2015)
Holiday Insights in 2015
You probably have heard "The Christmas Song," a holiday song famously recorded by Nat King Cole, that begins with the line "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." But, have you ever roasted a chestnut on an open fire? Or have you ever eaten a roasted chestnut at all? Either way, today you are in luck, as the day is dedicated to roasting and eating chestnuts, and has been dedicated as such since 2015.
Chestnuts have been being roasted for centuries; some historians think the tradition dates to the sixteenth century, when vendors sold them on the streets of Rome. They also are associated with St. Martin's Day in Portugal, and St. Simon's Day in Italy; some believe chestnut roasting got its start on those days. They are still eaten in those countries, and are a popular street food throughout the rest of Europe, as well as in East Asia, especially during the colder months. Why are they now eaten during the holiday months? When chestnuts are raw they are bitter, but roasting them makes them sweeter. Since so many sweet foods are eaten during the holidays, maybe that gives us clues as to why roast chestnuts are included as holiday treats. It is not otherwise known why the eating of roast chestnuts happens during the holiday season.