Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Festa dei sette pesci), also known as The Eve (La Vigilia, cognate to The Vigil), is an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with dishes of fish and other seafood.wikipedia
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Christmas Eve

December 2424 DecemberEve of Nativity
The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Festa dei sette pesci), also known as The Eve (La Vigilia, cognate to The Vigil), is an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with dishes of fish and other seafood. 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.
While other Christian families throughout the world celebrate the Christmas Eve meal with various meats, Italians (especially Sicilians) celebrate the traditional Catholic "Feast of the Seven Fishes" which was historically served after a 24-hour fasting period.

Italian Americans

ItalianItalian-AmericanItalians
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.
Many still celebrate the Christmas season with a Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Christmas traditions

ChristmasChristmas holidaysother European traditions
The tradition comes from Southern Italy, where it is known simply as The Vigil (La Vigilia). This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.
The dinner traditionally consists of seafood, with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, followed by typical Italian Christmas sweets, such as pandoro, panettone, torrone, panforte, struffoli, caggionetti, Monte Bianco or others, depending on the regional cuisine.

Dried and salted cod

salt codbaccalàsaltfish
The most famous dish for Southern Italians is baccalà (salted cod fish).
Salt cod is part of many European celebrations of the Christmas Vigil, in particular the southern Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.

List of dining events

List of dining events
Feast of the Seven Fishes – an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with meals of fish and other seafood.

Italian-American cuisine

Italian-AmericanItalian restaurantItalian
Italian-American cuisine
Alici or Acciughe – another integral dish served during Christmas Eve's Feast of the Seven Fishes. This dish's full name is Spaghetti con aglio, olio e acciughe (spaghetti with garlic, oil, and anchovies; alici is another word for anchovy). The anchovies and garlic are sliced very thin and dissolve in the oil. When served, the dish appears to be just pasta covered in hot oil. (Many variants exist in Italy: some don't have anchovies, some add capers or chili pepper)

Iron Chef Showdown

Iron Chef Showdown had the feast of the seven fishes as a secret ingredient

List of Christmas dishes

Christmas fooddrinkList of Christmas dishes: Denmark
List of Christmas dishes

Conch

conch shellconch shellsconch-shell
It is often included as one of the dishes prepared for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Tom Bawcock's Eve

Tom Bawcock
Today the observance the feast of the Vigil is rarely practised in Italy but it survives in Italian American households, where it is better known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

List of Italian dishes

Italian dishesItalian-style rollfritto misto
Feast of the Seven Fishes

December

No Gender December
Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italy)

Christmas dinner

Christmas family mealEnglish Christmas dinnerBritish Christmas dinner
An Italian American meal for Christmas Eve can be the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Robert Tinnell

Feast of the Seven Fishes (writer/art by Ed Piskor and Alex Saviuk, Allegheny Image Factory, 2005)

December 24

24 December24
Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italian Americans)

Seafood

seafood productssea foodfood fish
Today, the meal typically consists of seven different seafood dishes.

Jesus

ChristJesus ChristJesus of Nazareth
The tradition comes from Southern Italy, where it is known simply as The Vigil (La Vigilia). This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

Fasting and abstinence in the Catholic Church

fastingfastfasting and abstinence
The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat on the eve of a feast day.

Smelt (fish)

smeltsmeltsJapanese smelt
Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.

Squid as food

calamarisquidcalamares
Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.

Bible

biblicalScripturethe Bible
Seven is the most repeated number in the Bible and appears over 700 times.

Bible

biblicalScripturethe Bible
Seven is the most repeated number in the Bible and appears over 700 times.

Book of Genesis

GenesisGen.Gen
One popular theory is the number represents completion, as shown in 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."

Messiah

messianicmessianic figurePromised Messiah
During the feast of the seven fishes, participants celebrate the completion of God's promise of the Messiah through Jesus.