"As Christmas Eve is a strict fast day, no meat or dairy products are served or used in cooking. The simple meal serves as a reminder of the lean years when the world awaited the coming of Christ. In honor of the 12 apostles, twelve dishes, from recipes handed down by mothers and grandmothers, are traditionally served. In Slovakia, these dishes varied from village to village and with the fall harvest. Usually, wine, bread, garlic, salt, honey, fish, pirohi, sauerkraut, mushrooms, prunes, peas, barley, potatoes, bobalki, nuts and fruit are served. Each person is to have at least a small portion of everything served," Charlotte Conjelko says.
Depending on family preferences, sour mushroom soup (mushroom machanka
), or another soup like sauerkraut, potato or pea soup with barley is traditionally served.