Wednesday, December 22, 2010
A Few of My Favorite Things- #27
The Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes (On Christmas Eve)
This is a tradition that has been passed on from Southern Italy to America. Many Italian Americans now celebrate Christmas Eve by partaking in the feast of the 7 fishes. There are several theories as to what the #7 signifies- some believe it was Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem as the journey took seven days. It took God seven days to create the world. There are seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. Or maybe the feast honors the seven hills of ancient Rome.
This tradition is also known as La Vigilia and families all over the world celebrate it. The most common fishes you will find on Christmas Even in an Italian household include baccala (salted cod), calamari, eel (even though it is not technically considered to be a fish), smelts, shrimp, scallops and clams.
The Seven Fishes is the celebration and commemoration as we wait for midnight and the coming of Christ.
There is always a pasta dish too. It breaks up the 7 fish!
We enjoy seven fishes at my Auntie Peggy's every year and it truly is one of my favorite days and nights. What you will find at Auntie's house every Chrismtas Eve is yummy appetizers and cocktails to start- most apps have fish in them.
Later on, dinner usually consists of Auntie's baked stuffed shrimp, her aioli, Auntie Mary's baccala salad and her bouillabaisse, My mom's delicious salmon, Jody's stuffed quahogs, and then usually a lobster dish and a crab dish.
It is a fun night full of laughs (sometimes music) and true catching up with my dad's side of the family.
Leading up to this celebration is time spent visiting our loved ones at the local cemeteries and enjoying mass with my parents.
Since Diana has come along, she is a big hit and makes Christmas Eve even more magical for me.