Feast of the Seven Fishes

24 Dec

If you grew up in an Italian Catholic family, no doubt you will eat fish on Christmas Eve. La Vigilia di Natale, or The Vigil of Christmas, celebrates the anticipation of the midnight birth of baby Jesus. Similar to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meat is not eaten on Christmas Eve as part of the abstinence tradition. For Italians, of course, abstinence doesn’t mean not eating, just not eating meat. Instead, dinner is a large family meal celebrated with seven fishes and/or various seafood.



Why the number seven? No one knows for sure, but there are several theories. Two popular ones are that seven is the most repeated number in the Bible, appearing over 700 times. Another comes from Genesis 2:2:  By the seventh day, God completed the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Whatever the number of dishes, traditionally the meal will include various pastas with seafood, sautéed and fried fish, and fish salads.






A photograph of Fried calamari (squid).

Whatever your Christmas Eve tradition, may it include a great meal shared with those you love.



3 Responses to “Feast of the Seven Fishes”

  1. Charles December 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM #

    Aloha Judy,
    Your blog was perfect timing. I decided after looking at those seven dished to celebrate Christmas Eve this evening at “Taormina” in Waikiki. http://taorminarestaurant.com
    Merry Christmas to you and your entire global La Famiglia.


  2. Barbara Kaines December 26, 2013 at 8:49 AM #

    Oh the pictures of the food! You should be a culinary photographer. Happy 2014 to you and your family. May we all return to The peaceful life in Cortona soon. XO

    Sent from my iPhone



    • blogginginitaly December 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM #

      Food and Family…what can be better???
      Merry Christmas and peace in the new year! xo Judy


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: