Foods with Religious Symbolism


No matter the time or date, eating is a celebration. It is through our cuisines that we can see our past, present, and future under a different light. Almost all cultures like are portrayed by how they make their food, how they present it, and how they consume it. Food is also a concrete symbol of societal beliefs – especially religion.

We all have the physical and spiritual need to consume what is good for us, and since these things aid in our survival, they will go hand in hand all-throughout our lives. In fact, only those with great beliefs can make great meals. In most cases, the people who give the best kitchen advice are also the ones you can learn from the most about life. They have done so evidently in the past. Here are some of the foods with religious symbolism behind them.


This 33-layered cake made with phyllo dough had its early days with the mighty Assyrians layering unleavened bread, drenching it in honey, then baking it for dessert, but it’s more than just a sweet treat. Each layer of this cake was symbolic for each year of Christ’s life. Thus, it is served on Christmas and Easter days.

Soul Cake

Also called a soul-mass cake or the Somas loaf, it is the little cakes distributed on All Souls Day. This is in commemoration for the souls of our loved ones that had passed away.  This tradition of Medieval England was formed with the initial purpose of giving gifts to the dead. It was this gesture that inspired the western culture of Trick-or-Treating.


This soup is known to be served and eaten on the week before Easter in Ecuador. It contains many symbolic ingredients that stand for very important characters of Christianity. A serving of the soup each has 12 beans to stand of the apostles and a salt codfish which represents Christ himself.


These bite-sized pockets of taste are known all over the world for being so darn delicious, but did you know that it takes on an ancient form of Chinese currency? With its shape resembling money, it is believed to favor one’s fortune and bring good luck. It also looks like money-related instruments like the Tael (weight measurer) and the Ingots (currency in Imperial China). They also symbolize prosperity for Chinese businesses. Traditionally, they are eaten at midnight of the Chinese New Year.


This notable member of the Asian cuisine is kept in length, instead of being cut in pieces, for a particular reason. It well represents long life in the Taoist faith. That is why it’s kept as a staple on the Asian dining table, and in most Oriental countries as well – also because it’s a reliable source of carbohydrates.


Anyone who has tasted a pretzel would agree that it is a filling and delicious snack. However, the shape it takes did not just happen out of random chance. In fact, these were first baked by monks in Southern France in 610 AD. It took on the form of a child in a solemn prayer. It is for this matter that it is usually served during the Lenten season.