Everyone had fireworks and they would go off all night long. Thank you for the wonderful post. It's known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes ('Esta dei Sette Pesci' in Italian). Today it’s also celebrated with a visit from the “Befana”, a sort of good witch that fills the stockings or shoes of the kids with candy. ). Gifts are commonly exchanged on Christmas Day after lunch—sometimes with the belief that Jesus has delivered them – take that, Santa!. Learn about the Italian Christmas Eve tradition baccalà! Nov 22, 2014 - Italian Christmas Decorations | Italian Christmas music : In other countries, Thanksgiving (or even Halloween!) It's known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes ('Esta dei Sette Pesci' in Italian). In some Italian-American families, there is no count of the number of fish dishes. Ask an Italian when her family opens gifts, and it might give you a clue to where she’s from! The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, although it is not called that in Italy and is not a "feast" in the sense of "holiday," but rather a grand meal. Decorations and huge Christmas trees can be found in main piazzas, like in front of the Colosseum or in Milan’s Piazza Duomo, and Babbo Natale (Father Christmas, the Italian version of Santa Claus) spreads holiday cheer. Years gone by, the family has changed and many have past on, memories and traditions will carry on through our children as we instill these. The buses had stopped. The feast seems to have its root in southern Italy and was bought over to the USA by Italian immigrants in … Great fun! Thanks, Gina. She stood about 5 feet tall in heels, and was just about as wide, and never ate when the meal was served, usually watching to see reaction to what she had made, and always saying one thing or another didn’t come out exactly right, but it always was!! When Allentown residents Linda and Rocco Maniscalco lift the lid on the Italian Christmas Eve tradition … Sometimes referred to as The Feast of the Seven Fishes, not everybody sticks to exactly seven; some go up to 11 or 12, predominantly shellfish. 8th December is a public holiday in Italy marking the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the day on which Italians traditionally decorate their Christmas trees and their Nativity scenes. If you want to stage a similarly decadent meal, read our post on how to have an Italian Christmas meal, including recipes! Instead, it celebrates the day when the Church decided that Mary was born without having the stain of original sin. As this collection of Italian Christmas recipes demonstrates, festive dishes vary from region to region. Italian Christmas Traditions. An Italian tradition which is an instance of the blending of pagan and Christmas is called the burning of the Yule log, which must keep burning until New Year’s Day. My grand-mother, on my fathers side, was a De Martino, from Naples, and Grandfather was Gianfrancesco, from, his mother and father who were from Abruzzi. By using our site you accept that use. Italians have a seafood dinner on Christmas Eve called the "Feast of the Seven Fishes." Feasting on Fish to the Seventh Degree", "Feast of the Seven Fishes: only in America", "Mario Batali's Feast of the Seven Fishes", "Why Do Italians Eat Seven Fish on Christmas Eve? Also, near the city of Custonaci, in a cave on the mountainside, a presipio and a town is enacted by the locals. Nona was an incredible cook. Millions of stories like that in America of all nationalities. ... Browse the sections and pages below and you will find many fish recipes for your Christmas Eve celebration, many Christmas cookies recipes and plenty of other recipes for Christmas Day. After the “light” Christmas Eve dinner, on Christmas Day, Italians invite their family and friends for a large lunch that usually goes on all day. We have celebrated Christmas with our family in Sicily. ", "Iron Chef Showdown recap: Italian themed holidays reign supreme", Feast of the Seven Fishes blog: A weblog about this Italian Christmas Eve tradition, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Feast_of_the_Seven_Fishes&oldid=998242793, Italian-American culture in New York City, Articles containing Italian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 January 2021, at 13:22. 1. The Christmas Eve tradition, known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes, is perhaps the most well known of the three feasts and is characterized by an extravagant seafood menu with its twelve courses supposedly representative of the twelve apostles. Christmas-related celebrations in Italy traditionally start on the 8th December and conclude on Epiphany – 6th January. What a beautiful description! (And Here are 9 other reasons you have to see Naples!). Many save up to have the most lavish celebration possible, serving up traditional dishes like pasta in brodo (pasta in broth), roasts and traditional desserts like panettone. If you want to go to the source, head to Naples; the southern Italian city is world-famous for their hand-made presepi. The official end of the Christmas season, though, isn’t until January 6—the Day of the Epiphany, and the twelfth day of Christmas. As a semi-geeky aside, this holiday, which is both religious and state-sanctioned (meaning lots of offices and businesses will be closed on December 8), doesn’t have anything to do with the day of Mary’s conception. For many Italian Americans, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a can’t-miss Christmas tradition. Huge bonfires with an effigy of la befana on her broomstick on top would burn through the night (and smolder for several days after) while neighbors would eat, drink and be merry. Crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. The eight days before Christmas, also known as the Novena, are filled with carolers singing traditional songs around the neighborhood. On Christmas EVE, we eat a meal of seven fishes, to correspond to the 7 sacraments. Most churches, as well as other public areas and many Italian homes, will have at least one nativity scene on display. Deep Fried, Battered Salt Cod ~ Very delicious! Since most Italians do not eat meat on Christmas Eve, here are some traditional second-course items to enjoy. No it’s not a bad idea, but we do suggest you book well in advance – both for your train and, if possible, for your restaurant! Bring on the sword fish, tuna, salmon, octopus salad, smelts, calamari, spaghetti with clam sauce and the famous Italian classic—salted cod, known as baccalà. On returning, I just boil water and saute.  Christmas Eve is a vigil or fasting day, and the abundance of seafood reflects the observance of abstinence from meat until the feast of Christmas Day itself. Feast of the Seven Fishes is the Italian-American name for a multicourse seafood feast on Christmas Eve. Fish is the star of this meal, a custom which stems from the fact that, according to Roman Catholic tradition, observers can’t eat meat on days of fasting — though seafood is acceptable.In many Eastern European countries, this tradition is still upheld. After January 6, you’ll see Christmas markets close and decorations start to come down. It marks the end of the Christmas season here in Italy. The many traditions mentioned are our traditions. The main Christmas meal is on Christmas day, and of course Italians have several courses to their meals with this particular holiday definitely being no exception. I love history, and Ancient Rome is a pretty big part of that!! for more on those incredibly unique markets read our blogs on the 10 best Christmas markets in Italy and the Christmas markets of Venice. Styles vary and may depict just the holy family or a whole village, but the baby Jesus is usually added only on Christmas Eve. (Gian Francesco) When they asked his name, he gave the last name only, hence John Frank. Christmas Eve is December 24th, a unique day that precedes Christmas and is generally spent in the company of the family, gathered for a special dinner. Each region has its own traditional dish for Christmas dinner: the cuisine reflects the characteristics and flavors of the local environment. One Christmas tradition in Italy: a Christmas market! It now seems more popular in American than it is in Italy! We lived in northern Italy for several years and always looked forward to the neighborhood Pan e Vin celebrations on January 6th. Italian Christmas Food. Regardless of when they open their presents, many Italians keep their wrapped gifts on display on the pyramid-shaped ceppo, along with candles and other decorations. Visitors most definitely don’t have to partake in Italian Christmas Traditions. May 1, 2014 - When one thinks of Christmas the normal picture that comes to mind is one of Christmas trees, gifts and presents and Santa Claus. The pandemic will compromise Fauci’s Christmas Eve celebration. An Italian Christmas Eve. No matter what the regional differences may be, there is always lots of food, love, and family. The Epiphany is when la befana – a kind of “good witch” who is believed to have followed the wise men, but got lost—drops off presents. Italians don ’ t have to partake in the 1800s was from the 1950 ’ s from December 8 salads... 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