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A staple in all Italian households, the Feast of the Seven Fishes on December 24 is an authentic Italian Christmas Eve feast. Diners at Lucia Ristorante locations (415 Hanover Street) will have plenty to enjoy on Christmas Eve, with many seafood specials in addition to the regular menu, camaraderie and lots of good wine.

Reservations can be made online via OpenTable or by calling (617) 367-2353. http://luciab.st/

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12 COMMENTS

  1. It still puzzles me and many of my friends, including some from Italy, how the feast of the Seven Fishes originated at Christmas time. Our families never practiced that custom and it still does not make sense to us.
    Without discrediting the believers somehow in my mind this Feast
    day should be observed at Lent time, especially on Good Friday where fish is considered a most sacred rule. It would seem more appropriate that we celebrate The Feast of the Seven Fishes then. Right before Easter Lamb day or whatever special meal is planned.

    • In case anyone is curious about the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” origins:

      5. IN ITALY, THEY WOULD HAVE SIMPLY CALLED THE FEAST LA VIGILIA.

      Those immigrants, however, probably didn’t call it the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” More likely, they called it some variant of La Cena della vigilia, Il Cenone, La vigilia di Natale, or simply La Vigilia. The current name of the feast—and the practice of making exactly seven types of fish—comes from the new world. “Not many people observe these numbers in Italy,” cookbook author Amy Riolo told American Food Roots. “It’s much more popular in [America]. Americans love themes.”

      “As an Italian, I must admit I hadn’t heard about [the Feast of Seven Fishes] … and most of my Italian friends haven’t either,” Katia Amore wrote in Italy Magazine.

      https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/567912/the-feast-of-the-seven-fishes-facts

    • I think it’s a great tradition, but I asked some friends back home whether they had ever heard of it and got puzzled looks. I’m not sure whether it’s American or regional Italian?

      • Immigrants from Southern Italy brought over La Vigilia (and it’s many names) to America, it grew from there. We never had “7 fishes” when I was going up, but we did have an all-fish meal. Also, yes, very regional to Italy. I think once you travel past Rome, it is not really known.

        • My mother was pure Roman. Her mother and father were both born, raised and married in Rome. My grandfather passed away in the USA.
          The seven fishes were not celebrated in our homes.
          Not that it matters much.
          To each his own.

          • There are several theories on why the number 7 was used to describe the feast. One theory is the number 7 is mentioned 700 times in the Bible, another theory is after God completed his work he tested on the seventh day. Another is the number 7 represents the 7 sacriments of the Roman Catholic Church . Another it represents the seven hills of Rome. Italian Catholics had to abstain from meat on Christmas Eve therefore the tradition was 7 different fish dishes on the 24th.

          • Oh, interesting, Marguerite. I must have been misinformed from other Romans or perhaps, like you said, to each their own. Also, the Romans I knew eventually moved further south (Calabria) before moving to the US.

      • Growing up in the NE it was celebrated by many families . They celebrated Christmas on the 24th.In Italy their Santa was & still is called Bobba Natale. La Befana was the Italian Christmas Witch who flew on a broomstick and gave the little boys & girls who were good gifts . The kids who were not good got a lump of coal. La Befana was celebrated on Jan. 6th and is their version of Christmas. Here the feast of seven fishes started to fade away as the immigrants passed. From what I heard it was just too much work to cook the feast and the next generation here did not carry the tradition . It is big in NY to this day.

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