Feast of the Seven Fishes
Event Dates and Times
(UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Christmas Eve tradition for many Italians and Italian-Americans, is exactly what it sounds like: a meal (or a series of meals) featuring seven different types of fish (or any other type of seafood).
Traditionally, the person cooking the meal will try to prepare the dishes in different ways. One might be fried. One might be a seafood and pasta combo. One might be a basic appetizer. Naturally, this gives Italian cooks a perfect opportunity to show off their skills and creativity in the kitchen!
Italians choose the number seven because they associate it with the seven sacraments. Again, Catholicism and Italian holiday traditions are often intertwined.
Additionally, fish became a popular choice because (according to some) the Feast of the Seven Fishes first began among families that lived near the sea. Their immediate access to an abundant supply of seafood made it an ideal choice.
On top of that, because Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, deciding to eat fish on Christmas Eve is another way some Italians recognize their Catholic beliefs.