Sicilian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve


A few years in the past our household adopted the custom of the Feast of Seven Fishes for our Christmas Eve vacation feast. It’s actually modified over time, but it surely’s nonetheless a enjoyable household custom we love doing. In case you’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a attempt!

And sure … there actually are seven sorts of seafood!

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A Solution to Preserve Custom Alive

I wish to move on one of the best of our household tradition, traditions, and heritage. For the Italian facet, this typically means passing on the meals and recipes.

Making an attempt to have a wholesome way of life isn’t about throwing traditions centered round meals out of the window. Removed from it! As a substitute, I’ve modified meatball recipes, pasta recipes, and even Christmas cookie recipes to suit our allergic reactions and dietary wants.

One Italian-American custom specifically was simple and enjoyable to proceed with our household. It’s known as “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” within the US however merely “La Vigilia,” (the vigil)  in southern Italy. Because the title suggests, this custom actually entails making seven (or extra) sorts of fish on Christmas Eve.

Feast of the Seven Fishes: It’s What’s for Christmas Eve Dinner!

There’s a lot debate as to the historic origin of this custom, although we proceed it merely due to its connection to household. Consuming fish on Christmas Eve traces again to the Roman Catholic custom of abstaining from meat on Fridays and particular Holy Days. Abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve would have signified ready in anticipation of the Christ Baby’s arrival on Christmas morning.

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there have been numerous southern Italian immigrants to America (particularly New York). They introduced with them the custom of serving fish dishes on Christmas Eve. Many Italian-American households nonetheless proceed this vacation season custom.

The quantity seven can be up for debate, as many households serve fewer sorts of fish (and a few function many as 13!). Seven is probably going the most typical quantity due to its sturdy historic and cultural significance in lots of elements of Europe, together with Italy. In biblical historical past, the quantity seven represents completeness and perfection. There are additionally seven sacraments and 7 lethal sins in Catholic teachings.


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