The Feast of Seven Fishes
Think of a Christmas spread, and imagery of roast duck, chicken, turkey come to mind, along with the season’s must-have desserts for the ones with a sweet tooth! And yes, how could we forget the mulled wine?
But did you know there’s a Christmas tradition in a certain part of the world centered entirely around a seafood meal?
It is called the Feast of Seven Fishes.
The Feast of Seven Fishes (also called The Eve or La Vigilia) is a Christmas Eve meal comprising seven courses/types of seafood. This Christmas Eve feast does not have any meat-only seafood and vegetables.
The Feast of Seven Fishes is rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence from meat and dairy products before holidays, including Christmas. Followers believed in eating lean to purify the body before a holiday.
It originated in Southern Italy (with its vast coastline dotted with fishing villages). This region has traditionally been poorer, hence seafood’s been the affordable staple.
This tradition was made popular in the Americas by Italian immigrants.
Why Italians chose seven fishes for the most important and festive meal of the year?
The number seven is one of significance in Catholic symbolism. Seven has been mentioned more than 700 times in the Bible. There are seven sacraments and seven were the days of the Creation. Hence, what better number than seven?!
Yet Seven is Not Written in Stone!
If you thought a seven-course Seafood meal for Christmas is a bit much, think again! Seafood connoisseurs go the whole hog and expand the spread the nine (and sometimes, eleven) seafood dishes!
Do Something Different!
Planning to put together an unforgettable Christmas eve meal? And do away with the usual?
Get inspired by the Feast of Seven Fishes.
Italian folklore, La Befana is a witch who brings good children treats on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6. But if you were bad, look out – you may wake up to a lump of coal.
We know. Familiar, right? Does she say, “Ho ho ho,” and associate with red-nosed reindeer, too?
Think again: La Befana has been flying around the world on her tattered broomstick to swoop down chimneys and deliver sweet or sooty judgment on girls and boys long before Kris Kringle could so much as grow a goatee. The witch has been in the Italian tradition at least since the eighth century, as part of the Epiphany.
In Italy, the Epiphany marks the official end of the Christmas season, commemorating the day when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts. Every year, the occasion is celebrated with living nativity scenes, a great procession through the city center, and — most exciting for the sweet tooths among us — the arrival of La Befana.
According to the story, the four figures’ fates were intertwined when the Magi happened upon La Befana early on during their quest. She charitably hosted them for an evening in her humble but cozy cottage; the next morning, they invited her to accompany them to Bethlehem. Busy cleaning her home, La Befana declined at first – but then, after they carried on their way – she had second thoughts. She quickly filled a basket with gifts for the baby Jesus and set off alone. Although she followed the same star, she was unable to find the manger before the Wise Men did on January 6, the Epiphany.
Today, La Befana continues to travel the world on Epiphany Eve, searching every house for the child and leaving candies and chocolates for the good children – just coal for the bad – in her wake. At Eataly, we are celebrating her arrival with panettone and pandoro, the traditional Italian holiday cakes, and other sweet treats.
Feast Of Mt. Carmel
The Emilia Sammartino Lodge
supports the Mt. Carmel feast day and festival each year.
Joe and Erin Decaro along with the Lodge President Terry Lucarelli and his wife Patty represented the Emilia Sammartino Lodge this past year.
Meetings are held at Rizzo's Malabar Inn Crabtree,PA
last Wednesday of the month.
2022 meetings to be posted
Rizzi has a few how to videos for various foods
see web site below
Italian America magazine is a full-color quarterly in English. It is the official publication of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America®, the nation’s largest and oldest organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States
Italian food a strong tradition!
Many Italian recipes
please review this site.
see site below: