Christmas Around the World

I want to do a 12-video series (for the 12 days of Christmas, GET IT?!) in December wherein each video covers a traditional Christmas food from a different country. I’ve done some research on my own, but I want to know what you think!

If you have a favorite recipe for Christmas, leave a comment below telling me where you are from and why it is special to you. I’ll pick 12 to learn how to make and feature on the show!

Please enjoy this quick vlog about the new commenting system on YouTube and my Christmas video project!


  1. Tadeu on November 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Here in Brazil, Christmas is Christmas only if you have Panettone, a kind of sweet bread with fruits, nuts and chocolate, originated in Italy, but mandatory in the brazilian holiday’s table. It’s also traditional in Italy, so: 2 countries with one recipe!

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Thank you, Tadeu! That is a great idea for a 2-for-1! 😀 I’ve had panettone but never made it. Seems like it can’t be too hard?

  2. Michelle on November 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I’m Colombian and for Christmas my family makes natilla and buñuelos. Sooooo good, man. Can’t wait to eat them this year~

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Ooh, Michelle! Buñuelos have been on my list for a while. 🙂 I”ll have to look up what is natilla. Thank you!

  3. Gary Lum on November 15, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Hey Hilah. I grew up in Queensland Australia. We always had pavlova with sliced banana, passion fruit, mango, pineapple and lots and lots of cream.

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Pavlova! Wow, I haven’t had that since I was in NZ. So beautiful. Thanks for the suggestion, Gary!

  4. Carmen on November 15, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    My family is French-Canadian and we always have tourtière on Christmas Eve, although I think having it on Christmas Eve is mainly so that we can also do the turkey thing on Christmas Day. Tourtière is a double-crust meat pie traditionally made with ground or minced pork along with some veal or beef. You can use game meat too, since tourtière is very much a peasants-in-the-middle-of-winter sort of dish. Hearty, filling, stick to your ribs stuff made with whatever was available. It has bits of potato and onion in it and is spiced with sage, thyme, bay, summer savory, and cloves, sometimes cinnamon and allspice as well. I’m not usually big on the smell of ground meat products and honestly I’m not a big meat eater anyway, but the filling smells amazing. You cook it first so the crust doesn’t just turn to mush, like you did with the apples in the pie recipe you posted earlier this week. Tourtière is absolutely the smell of Christmas to me. With the flaky, tender pastry around a spiced meat filling it’s kind of like a giant sausage roll. It’s great with ketchup and also, of course (it’s Canada), with maple syrup.

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Wow, Carmen. I’ve never heard of this, but I really like the sound of it! Yum. Thanks for the detailed description. I’m sure I can find a recipe online somewhere that fits what you’ve described. Yay!

  5. Steph on November 16, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Hey Miss Hilah! I am from Canada, but my family is Danish. At Christmas we have to have one of (or both!) two desserts. Risalamande-a delicious rice pudding, made with whipped cream and almonds folded in. Always served cold with a warm fruit sauce (sour cherry!) OR Citronfromage-a sweet and tart lemon mousse (no not lemon cheese as the name suggests). The best part? The desserts get a nut hidden in them…and whoever finds the nut gets and extra Christmas present! I suggest you try them…deeeelicious!

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Thanks, Steph! This is such a super fun idea! These sound delicious and I LOVE the secret hidden nut tradition. 🙂

  6. Maria Brauner on November 16, 2013 at 5:42 am

    It would be so cool if you made your twist on something danish 🙂
    Christmas is a big deal in Denmark and specially the christmas lunch (called ‘julefrokost’) in the days following christmas eve. People mostly serve cold dishes at christmas lunch and in my opinion cold herring with a curry dressing is a must!
    But there’s loads of danish christmas dishes, and it would be awesome to see your take on one of them 🙂

    Great show!
    Love from Denmark – Maria.

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Thank you, Maria! This is totally getting me into the Christmas spirit! I can’t wait to try some Danish recipes. 🙂 I’m also learning new words!

  7. Tobias on November 16, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Hey Hilah,
    As you might know, Christmas Eve is the most important day of Christmas in Germany. The tree gets decorated and the Christkind brings the presents. As it’s such a busy day many Germans prepare easy dishes December 24th. Most popular are wiener with potato salad (either with mayonnaise (Northern Germany) or Bavarian style with broth and vinegar (Southern Germany)). Not really festive, right?
    The feast is usually saved for Christmas Day. Many Germans eat venison, all kind of birds and roast. Almost every year I make goose legs with potato dumplings and red cabbage.
    If you are interested in recipes or want to know more about German Christmas cooking traditions just email me.
    Tobi from Germany

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Woohoo! Thanks, Tobi! Wiener and potato salad sounds pretty good to me, you know I love wieners, but you’re right it’s not the most exciting-sounding dish. I think I will email you about those potato dumplings and cabbage, though!

  8. cardamonbraid on November 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

    The scandinavians most of the year don’t shine but when it comes to christmas and the smorgasbord all of a sudden they SHINE. What I always looked forward to the most were Pepparkakor cookies, yes they are spicy and ohhhhhhh so good but its the tradition of placing one in the palm of your hand, pressing down and hoping that it breaks into 3 pieces so your wish comes true makes them that much more special………….

    • Hilah on November 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      What a wonderful tradition! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  9. Larry Johnson on November 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Raised in Central Texas (just up the road) we were pleased to be friends with a wonderful Mexican community there (my Dad was a medical doctor born in Timpson and Granddad in San Augustine). What I miss the most about Christmas is home made tamales, a great Mexican Christmas tradition.

  10. migotka21 on November 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Would you like to try traditional Polish pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms? One should use king bolete mushroom but if you can’t buy it, try whatever available in your store. Or a mushroom soup also with king bolete. Or kutia which is a pudding popular in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus – so it’s 5 in 1.
    Marta (from Poland)

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thank you, Marta!
      I have always wanted to try making pierogis. I like to eat them, but haven’t made them myself. 🙂 I just googled king bolete mushroom and it says another name for them is porcini, which I have only ever seen dried. Would dried, reconstituted mushrooms work or would I be better off using whatever fresh mushrooms I can find? I’m also going to look up kutia. Thanks!

      • migotka21 on November 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm

        Yes, dried are way better than fresh. You need to put them into a pot, add water and let them be for at least 6 hours, preferably longer. Then you use mushroom and water with all the flavour and that’s it. Use it to prepare a traditional soup or a sauce or to boil sauerkraft in it. Just remember, when you cook traditional Polish Christmas dishes for “Wigilia” (which is the day before Christmas), you DON’T use animal meat, fat and so on – they must be maigre.
        Have fun!

        • Hilah on November 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

          Thank you again! I found a couple of recipes that I will email to you so you can tell me if they are “correct”. And I learned a new word: maigre!

      • migotka21 on November 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Sorry, forgot to ask. Do you have your own recipe for pierogi or do you need it? And/or a recipe for kutia? ‘Cause I’m not sure I should post it in a comment. M.

  11. Deanna on November 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I’m from Panama, but I’ve been in the U.S. for a few years. My grandmother always makes Sancocho with Carimañolas as a side dish and Pastel de tres leches! Sooo good!

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Hi Deanna!
      That stew sounds so good! I’ve never heard of the carimañolas before, but just looked it up. Those look absolutely delicious! I’m definitely going to try making those. Thank you! I’m learning so much from everyone! 😀

  12. Trey on November 17, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Hey Hilah!
    I grew up in Bulgaria and one of my favourite Bulgarian Christmas dishes is “Sarmi”. (or Vine/Cabbage Leaf Wraps) Originally Greek, this recipe found its way to my country many years ago.
    What it is is basically pre-steamed vine or cabbage leaves, filled with (mainly, but not only) beef, rice, diced veggies (pretty much anything you can dig out of your fridge, haha) & then rolled into tiny “packets”. The main reason why I love them I guess is that they remind me of miniature burritos, hell yeah!!

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Hi Trey!
      Those sound good! I’ve made dolmas before but never this variation. That would be really fun to make because I also enjoy miniature burritos. 😉 Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. Papa Vic on November 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Well as you know in the SW there are many holiday dishes associated with the Xmas season, but when I lived in New Mexico it was nearly impossible to go visiting anyone’s home between Thanksgiving and NYE without somebody’s abuela blocking the door and refusing to allow you to leave without taking at least a dozen home-made tamales with you. 🙂

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks, Papa Vic! I wish I lived near somebody’s abuela! I guess I’ll have to make my own tamales. 🙂

  14. Sophie on November 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Hello Hilah! Love your show and i have tried alot of the meals and the tortilla one i make al the time so thanks for that! Im from sweden and at our christmas table we alwas have boild ham that after is gratin in mustard and breas crumbs 🙂 we also have omelet with stew on top with chrimps or mushrooms.. And ofcourse swedish meatballs! And then we just have to have Jul Must its a swedish non alkoholic drink that is a substitute for beer and in christmas time of year coca cola dont stand a chans against this.. We also have some kind of Potato Gratin with anchovy called Jansons Frestelse 🙂 well its a smörgåsbord but thats how we role in sweden with up to 20 diffrent stuff on our table but these are most importat and again love the show!! Hugs // Sophie (for more detailed recipe mail me)

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Sophie!
      Thank you for this! I’m so glad you make the tortillas! 🙂
      I’m going to try making Swedish meatballs this week! I can’t wait. All the other things sound good, too, especially the anchovy potato gratin. That is very unusual. Thank you!

  15. Caleb on November 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I’m from Hungary. Here it is not a Christmas dinner if there isn’t some kind of fried carp on the table. My family does it with a simple flour + ground red paprika coating, but there are quite a few variations for batters too. It is usually served with some variation of a potato salad (mostly vinegar based with purple onions).

    • Hilah on November 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Caleb!
      This sounds great. I am not very familiar with Hungarian food at all, so thank you for explaining a little about how the recipes are made. I love vinegary potato salad and fried fish!

  16. Divya on November 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Hi Hilah,

    I love your channel on YouTube-thank you for making cooking so much fun!
    I’m not Christian but growing up in India we always had something called plum cake for Christmas.
    I don’t think they actually use plum in it-it is just fruit cake soaked with some rum or brandy for added merriness.
    Hope you try that!


    • Hilah on November 18, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Thanks, Divya!
      This sounds very much like the British puddings. Do you know if it is similar? Sounds good either way. A merry cake indeed! 😉

  17. Rutager on November 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

    No better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than with Clamato handjobs and rimjobs!

    Just like my grandma always said.

  18. Katy on November 20, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Hi Hilah! I’m Greek and our Christmas roast is absolutely divine 🙂 No gravy to be seen.
    We normally have lamb, obviously, slow roasted in the oven until it literally disintegrates on your fork, sometimes with garlic cloves pushed into it. If we’re cooking for a lot of people we might even spitroast an entire lamb 😛 We have potatoes which are very traditional mediterranean potatoes – cut into quarters, par-boiled, then put in a baking tray and smothered with lots of olive oil and lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper, and all sorts of lovely herbs. Keep basting them as you would a turkey and they go gorgeously soft. Then the left over olive oil can be used as a sort of gravy for the lamb! Then we would have hand made tzatziki which is super easy, houmous, pitta bread, all the usuals. Heaven. The key ingredient is definitely olive oil, you gotta be generous!

    • Hilah on November 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Gosh, Katy, that sounds like an outrageously good meal! The way you described those potatoes — wow! Thanks so much for writing! 🙂

    • kristy on November 24, 2013 at 11:49 am

      hello there!
      I from Greece also and i agree with Katy in all the above, but i whant to make and addition and i am sure see will agree back :).
      1st addition for food. an other typical christmas dish is Tigania cooked with wine (small piceces of pork meat cooked in olive oil,onion,red reppers-garlic of course- and finally red wine!) take a look here:
      2nd addition for sweet. Typical-typical christmas sweet in greece is Melomakarona….
      no words needed! take a look here:Μελομακάρονο
      and here:

      • Hilah on November 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

        Thank you, Kristy!
        Those honey cakes look delicious! And the tigania sounds great, too. I was not familiar with either of them before, so thank you for sharing! 🙂

  19. Hal on November 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    As kids when I was growing up, there wasn’t a special dish that I looked forward too. I guess my Mom’s homemade pumpkin bread was the best. However, my Mom would make extra mashed potatoes just to have for leftovers. She would mix them with eggs, extra melted butter, some leftover turkey, or ham ( depending on what we had for Christmas dinner). It was like a thick batter and she fried it in a cast iron skillet ( which I now have inherited from her, it was originally her mothers) We ate them like pancakes with ketchup.

    Growing up, Christmas was more of a season, not a day. When we watched “Rudolph” on the TV, it started our anticipation for Christmas morning. Even to this day, and though I own the DVD, it doesn’t feel like the holiday without watching the show with a bowl full of popcorn.

    • Hilah on November 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      What great memories, Hal! Those potato pancakes sound wonderful. That’s a great reason to make extra on purpose.
      And you’ve made me nostalgic for watching “Rudolph” now. 🙂

  20. Cassie Munehira on November 21, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Hi Hilah!
    My name is Cassie Munehira:) I’m part Japanese and wanted to share with you what Christmas was like here. It was actually funny at first when I moved here but I’ve gotten used to it now. In Japan they think that it’s important to spend Christmas with your boyfriend or girlfriend 😛 They also celebrate the holiday with a usually bought or preordered “Chistmas Cake”. Traditionally it’s strawberry shortcake with strawberries and small Christmas decorations on top but now they’ve got a lot of variety to choose from. Oh, and Christmas dinner is made up of orderves and roast chicken but since it’s really hard to get a hand on whole poultry here everybody just preorders it from a near by super market. Yup no cooking on Christmas in Japan. Lol
    My mother is catholic so we celebrate Christmas with her home made dinner, I love the stuffing:) She always seems to get hold of a whole roasting chicken! My older sister makes the best mashed potatoes and my little sister and I help decorate the house and make fruit cake 🙂 Unfortunately the whole family can’t get together this year because dad will be away on business and my sisters have their own plans it’ll just be me and mom and my boyfriend. We’re thinking of having a nice dinner at a restaurant! I kind went of track sorry :/
    I just wanted to let you know that I love your show and watching you makes me laugh! So I wanted to share my holiday plans with you! 🙂 I hope that you have a great holiday too♡
    Love from Japan,

    • Hilah on November 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Cassie!
      Thank you for sharing this information! You’re the first person from Japan that I’ve heard from so this is all new to me. 🙂 Is the fruit cake your mom’s recipe, too?
      I hope you have a nice Christmas, even if it’s tiny. Thanks for writing! XOXO

  21. Octavian on November 21, 2013 at 4:07 am

    heya Hilah. I’m from Romania but now I live in England. For Christmas or for any special holiday for this matter we make Salata de Boeuf (salata boeuf most commonly said). its a dish that’s always on the Christmas eve dinner table. its made up of poached chicken or beef(I prefer chicken) and its mixed with chopped picked bell peppers and pickled cucumbers. Boiled carrots and potatoes also. there are some variations where you add onions and peas but bot as common. its mixed with homemade mayonnaise and also toped with a layer of mayonnaise and pickled bell peppers decorations. I can send you the recipe in details if that helps 😉
    thanks you for your amazing dedication and the delicious recipes. 😀

    • Hilah on November 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Octavian!
      Thank you! This sounds great. I’d be very curious to know more if you don’t mind emailing me at hilahcooking at gmail dot com. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen pickled bell peppers, but we do have a Russian market here that might carry them?
      Thanks for writing! 😀

  22. Caitie on November 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    It’s not a one person job, but it’s also not Christmas without some homemade tamales. I’m also a Texas girl and this is one of our traditions. It’s a great way to spend time with each generation of my family all while making some good food! I think the 12 days of Christmas around the world is an awesome idea. Hope this helps!

    • Hilah on November 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Hell yeah! I love making tamales. We always had tamales on Christmas Eve growing up. 🙂 I’ve got some Guatemalan banana leaf tamales cooking right now. First time for that, and I’m excited!

      • Caitie on November 25, 2013 at 1:46 am

        That sounds so unique and delicious! Hope they turned out well!

  23. Paula Jakobs on November 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Hi Hilah,

    I’m from the home of kolaches, the Czech Republic. At christmas time we do a lot of baking of cookies, and a special sweet braided bread called Vanocka. This page shows how the braids are made:
    and here’s another recipe:

    • Hilah on November 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Thank you, Paula!
      I love kolaches – we made them on our Texas Kitchen show. 🙂 Thank you for the link to the vanocka bread. It’s beautiful and looks delicious, too. It’s been so much fun for me learning about Christmas traditions around the world.

    • Larry Johnson on November 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      Horaay for kolaches!!! Horaay for Paula!!! You ever make bramborák or bramboráčky ?

  24. Cynthia on November 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm


    Well, Im from Switzerland and we make a variety of cookies…families favorites are Brunsli and Mailanderli. We also make Mulled Wine…the strong stuff…no cutting corners with the Booze…:0)

    love your show. stay classy and yall have a nice weekend.


    • Hilah on November 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Cynthia! Thank you! I really like mulled wine I recently discovered. Never had either of the cookies you mentioned, so I will have to look them up!

  25. Marci on November 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Hello Hilah,
    My grandpa was Norwegian. I cooked some traditional norwegian dishes for him before he passed away he said he loved them and it made him remember his childhood and Mom. He was 98 years old that’s a long way back to remember. I made Grot or porridge and some burger that had sausage in them patties that were so good. Other things include Lutefisk, remember they are vikings so you can have lots of fun with their bloody history. They have stews and all kinds of meat. There are some side dishes that look vegetarian potential.
    check out fromnorway dot net
    and osofn dot com

    • Hilah on November 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      That is so awesome that you were able to cook for him, Marci! Thanks for sharing those sites and recipe ideas. I love the Viking stories 🙂

  26. Nina on November 27, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Hey Hilah !

    I’m a French girl and I grew up in the countryside, in a small dairy farm, and I’m very lucky both my mother and her mother are extraordinary cooks ! Usually we would just have a small but excellent dinner with my parents and siblings on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day, after opening our presents, we head to my grandmother’s to meet up with the whole family around a wonderful meal !
    Everything is made from scratch by my grandmother, and it changes every year, but there are a few things we find coming back a lot of time. Usually there is foie gras for starter (my grandmother buys raw foie gras and prepares and cooks it herself with porto wine and spices), just in its perfect glory with toasted bread and some kind of sweet touch (fig jam, caramelized onions). Then we usually have two kinds of meats, one of them being venison (either boar or deer or doe or more rarely hare), and then a roasted bird for those who don’t like venison (usually goose or guinea fowl, sometimes pheasant but this one crosses the line between poultry and venison).
    With venison my grandmother has an AWESOME recipe of classic sauce au vin, with a twist : a a few tablespoons of homemade cranberry jam (yet it has nothing to do with the classic cranberry sauce of an American Thanksgiving). This sauce is also lovely on any roast, though my favorite apart from venison would be lamb ! I’d be glad to give you the recipe if you’d like it.

    • Hilah on November 27, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Wow, Nina, this sounds like heaven on Earth! I’d love the recipe! I’ll email you. It’s a shame that deer meat is so hard to get in the US unless you hunt it. I think there are laws against selling wild game like deer and boar in butcher shops. Though I do know a couple of hunters… 🙂
      Your Christmas traditions are lovely. Thanks for sharing!

      • Nina on December 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

        Well, venison is kind of hard to find in France too, most of the time you won’t find it in regular butcher shops, maybe also beacause it’s a meat with a very strong taste that fawer and fewer people like. But now with the Internet, it is easier to find places that sell it, or even order it directly from the web! My favorite will always be “chevreuil”, I can’t find a proper english word for that… It’s a small deer.
        As for my family, we’re lucky to still have a hunting grandfather among us ! This year we will feast on boar ! And I’m pretty confident that my little sister will tae up the torch in a few years, so lots of venison in the future Christmas meals !

        • Hilah on December 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

          That is just marvelous, Nina. You may wake up one morning to find me on your door step, plate in hand. 😉

  27. E.W. Modemac on December 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    If it’s not too late to make a suggestion, though admittedly not as exotic as the Christmas dishes from Greece and Latin America: why not do an old-fashioned British plum pudding? Such as this one, if I may be so bold: (“Steaming a Christmas Plum Pudding”)

  28. maria on December 3, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Hello Hilah
    my family are Greek-Cypriot and we make good food so i would be happy if you did a recipe on Greek food

    • Hilah on December 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Yes, Maria! If you have any specific requests or recipes, I would love that!

  29. Will Scott on December 10, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Hey Hilah Girl!

    Well, I grew up for my first 5 years in Ft, Worth Texas. Seemed no matter where I moved my parents, both Texans, moved with me until I was 18. Christmas was always the same old Honey Glazed Ham with pineapple rings and cloves, pickled beets and yams with tiny marshmallows. Yuck! In the last 50 years I have had the pleasure to live and work in 20 other countries and needless to say my palate has expanded. My home is now in Australia where it wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without fresh prawns (please don’t call them shrimp here), and Pavlova for dessert – the national dessert of both Oz and NZ.

    But my memories still go back to Texas on New Year’s Day when folks would stop by my uncle Jim Bob’s place for his Black-eyed Peas and ham hocks with a few shiny Roosevelt dimes sprinkled through for good luck!

    We love your video blog and send you and Christopher big hugs and kisses for Christmas.

    • Hilah on December 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hi Will!
      Wow, thank you so much for sharing your food stories! We always had ham for Christmas, too, and a wild rice casserole my grandma made that was actually really good, and creamed pearl onions. 🙂 That’s a wonderful story about your uncle and his BEP.
      I’m going to try making pavlova! I haven’t had it since I was in NZ 10 years ago. I don’t recall it being too complicated, right? Hope not!
      Thank y’all for writing and Merry Christmas!

  30. Lyn on January 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    My husband’s family is Sicilian and every Christmas they gather round the table to make spedini. It is made by slicing beef (or chicken) tenderloin very thin, dipping in seasoned breadcrumbs and some grated Parmesan, rolling them up with an onion sliver and slice of mozzarella inside and placing on a skewer. Between the spedini’s we put a bay leaf and slice of onion, then they are broiled for a few minutes.on each side. YUM!

    • Christopher on January 1, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Wow! I’ve never heard of that, Lyn. Sounds delicious and simple. Thanks for the instructions!

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