Why Italians Eat Seven Fish
Sister Jacinta Coscia
In response to the query about the traditional fish dinner many Italian-Americans enjoy on Christmas Eve, I have a little information. My grandparents came from southern Italy. We traditionally enjoyed clams, squid, shrimp, lobster, some type of fillet etc. I don’t know that the total has to be seven. What I do know is that Christmas Eve is the last night of the Advent season. In previous times, Advent was experienced in the Catholic Church as a more penitential time similar to Lent. Giving up meat to some degree was part of the sacrifice. Therefore, as most Italians are Catholics, they waited until Christmas before they would have meat.