Seven Fish Dinner

Meghan Tuzzolino, Columnist

The Seven Fish Dinner is part of a Southern Italian Christmas Eve celebration. It is called the Feast of the Seven Fishes in the few households that still celebrate it in Italy, despite being more of a grand meal than a “feast.” Today, it is only celebrated in 1 of 500 Italian-American  households, according to Eataly. The feast originated from a dinner that included seven different fish entrees, including prawn cocktail, stuffed mussels, crab cake, smoked salmon, fried tilapia, clam sauce, and many more dishes.

The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates back to the Roman Catholic custom of abstinence from meat and dairy products on the eve of certain holidays, including Christmas. The number seven is rooted back in ancient times; in fact, the number seven appears in the Bible more than 700 times, according to CNN. Also, in the Roman Catholic Church there are seven sacraments, seven days of Creation, and seven deadly sins, according to Eataly.

The significance of it, however, has slowly died off in Italy. When the Italians from the South who celebrated the Seven Fish Dinner migrated to North America, they took many of their classic traditions with them. Consequently, the majority of Italian households celebrating the special meal are in the United States, states The National Broadcasting Company. The Seven Fish Dinner is almost unknown to many people in Italy.

No matter what tradition you celebrate, whether it is well-known or only has a few participants, they are all important and all deserve recognition because of their importance to the founders of their faith.