Seven Fishes

When you think of a Christmas dinner, you probably think of prime rib, ham, or turkey and probably lots of wine?!

But did you know there’s a Christmas Eve tradition based entirely around a seafood meal?

It is called the Feast of Seven Fishes.

What is it?

The Feast of Seven Fishes is a Christmas Eve meal featuring seven courses/types of seafood. This Christmas Eve feast does not have any meat-only seafood and vegetables.

The Origin

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 Seven?

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. So it makes sense why they would choose seven.

Do Something Different!

Planning to put together an unforgettable Christmas Eve meal? Try the Feast of Seven Fishes.