Italian: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

Calamari Salad:  a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa de sette pesci) is a uniquely Italian tradition from Southern Italy, celebrated on Christmas Eve (also known as “the vigil” or “La Vigilia”). Although some parts of Italy do not celebrate the feast, it is believed to be an authentically Italian tradition going back to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from the Italian xmas eveconsumption of meat or milk products on Fridays and specified holy days. In the stead of meat, Catholics ate fish, typically fried in oil. Other seafood has been incorporated into the celebration as well.

So why seven fish? The story is debatable. Some say it has to do with the number of sacraments celebrated in the Catholic church, while others say that it has everything to do with the Biblical meaning of the number seven representing perfection. No matter what the story…that’s a whole lotta’ seafood, so there’s bound to be a whole lotta’ family and friends and fun.

Popular dishes include

The meal’s components may include some combination of anchovieswhitinglobstersardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eelssquidoctopusshrimpmussels and clams. The menu may also include pastasvegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

Popular dishes

many more. See for menu tips for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Fried Smelts: a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes