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What Foods Did the Holy Family Eat Back in the Day?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph always moved homes to keep themselves safe. Luckily, there were a lot of good samaritans in the Holy Land!

The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated today, December 27. It pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, her husband St. Joseph, and her child and Son of God, Jesus Christ— three individuals who perfectly embody a Christian family that is loving, tight-knit, and accepting.

During the day, the Holy Family had relatively no permanent house. They kept on moving homes because an angel warned Joseph that King Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus, and that he should leave with Jesus and Mary to avoid the corrupt King’s spies and guards. (Read: Prayer to St. Joseph After the Rosary)

This makes us wonder: How did the Holy Family survive having to move houses every so often, traveling long distances just to keep Jesus safe? The answer lies in bountiful harvest!

Harvest Season

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Various crops and produce were made available to the people in the Holy Land: wheat, barley, garlic, onions, chickpeas, grapes, and olives, among others. (Photos from Nazareth Village Friends Facebook)

Historic accounts say that God had told the people that during harvest time, they should leave enough for widows, orphans, and resident foreigners, “For remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; this is why I command you to do this.” (Deuteronomy 24: 17–19, 22).

Because of this, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were able to eat regularly— having enough strength to travel once again. (Read: The Pope’s Prayer for the Immaculate Conception of Mary)

Various crops and produce were made available to the people in the Holy Land: wheat, barley, garlic, onions, chickpeas, grapes, and olives, among others. These came in abundant and large volumes every harvest time. There were also people who raised sheep, goats, and cattle, which became the meat for different dishes that they cooked in their day. Others also fished in the Sea of Galilee for their meals.

Foods in the Holy Land

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The bread would be kneaded by hand and baked fresh every day for those who want to buy some and eat. (Photos from Nazareth Village Friends Facebook)

Mealtime was considered a sacred time because of God’s blessings and presence. Breakfast was simple and would consist of a piece of bread or fruit only. The bread would be kneaded by hand and baked fresh every day for those who want to buy some and eat. It would also be used for lunch but with a side of fig or a type of grain.

For dinner, which was considered the main meal back in the day, it would be a hearty stew— porridge-like— full of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Bread would also be used as the spoon to serve the stew individually! (Read: 3 Hearty Soup Recipes That Popes Eat During Cold Seasons)

Sometimes, fish would be served especially if there is a special guest visiting your house. And compared to now, meat was only occasionally cooked and served in the Holy Land, and more often than not, it would be the rich individuals that would be having it.

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(Left, inset images) Lentil stew seasoned with herbs like cumin, black cumin or coriander; and fish for special guests visiting your house. (Photos from jesus-story.net, (Photos of Foods and Drinks from Jesus’ Time) flowvella, and Reynold Mainse / Nazareth Village Friends Facebook)

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