What’s with Brussels sprouts and the British every holiday season?

The European Union may be something the United Kingdom doesn’t always like about Brussels. But there’s one thing related to the Belgian capital that is a veritable British favourite, perhaps the only one.

Brussels sprouts occupy a special place on the dining tables of British homes every Christmas. Others may detest  those tiny round cabbages, but the Brits love them. Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson couldn’t help himself.


So how did Brussels sprouts become a British holiday tradition? The reasons are both historical and practical.

Historically speaking….

Word has it that in prehistoric Britain, the leafy ancestors of what is now known as Brussels sprouts were considered sacred in Celtic culture.

The druids, composed of the priests and leaders of Celtic tribes, were said to plant and cultivate sprouts as an act of worship.

Soon the Romans came and drove away the druids and the tribes dwelling in the British isles. But the significance of the sprout was apparently already planted deep in the cultural subconscious of the inhabitants and their descendants.

Practically speaking…

Brussels sprouts, which belong to the Gemmifera group of cabbages, normally grow and abound during winter. No other type of vegetable could be so bold.

So who would have the heart to turn down a cute little cabbage that is practically begging to be served during the holidays? Not the British.

Thus, Brussels sprouts came to be an indelible part of Christmas tradition in the UK. In fact, they are a year-round favourite in the country.

And in case you were wondering…

The Brussels sprout is named after the Belgian capital because it was first cultivated in large amounts in Belgium some time in the 16th century.