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Dec 24, 2011 08:58 AM

The Traditional Seafood for Christmas Eve?

Does anyone know where this tradition started ? Or even why?

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  1. a quick Bing search takes us to, of course; Wickipedia...
    It is an Italian tradition.

    1. Who said it was a tradition? I've never heard of it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GRAFH

        Ah, you might consider that just because you never heard of it, it doesn't mean it is not a tradition, just not for you. Open your mind?

        I am sure there are many traditions any of us haven't heard of, but that doesn't make them less real to someone in the world.

      2. The '7 fishes' tradition is specifically Italian - southern Italian according to the Wiki article. And many Italian-Americans have roots from that area.

        More generally Christmas Eve (the whole day) is a religious day of preparation for the major midnight Liturgy (Mass in RC terms). Traditionally that involves some sort of abstinence or fasting. In some traditions that may be a complete fast, others just refraining from meat, with fish and seafood allowed. Protestants dropped most of those liturgical traditions, and even in the Catholic and Orthodox churches the fasting rules have eased.

        In older practice, the 40 days before Christmas are Advent, and may even have Lent like fasting, while the 12 days after Christmas are the celebration time, ending with a January 6 feast day (The Wise Men or Theophany).

        1. Where I am in the world, we have no traditions about Xmas Eve food.

          1. I am Polish and Catholic and we always had some sort of fish on Christmas Eve then each opened one gift, with the rest being opened after breakfast on Christmas Day. I was told seafood had to do with Advent and Catholicism.

            My husband is Finnish and did not attend church. His family always had seafood and opened all gifts on Christmas Eve. He was never told why the seafood; they just did. He was told they open gifts first because Santa starts in Finland...