It’s Christmas Eve and I’m mostly done with everything. How about you? The presents have been wrapped and cookies are baked. Today, I’ll deliver cookies to a few of my neighbors and start preparing for Christmas dinner, which we host.
This evening, my kids are performing in the children’s choir at our church-a first for them. Afterwards, we’ll go to my aunt and uncle’s house for our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. We celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as Vigilia di Natale, or Vigil of the Nativity. As a child, the significance of the evening didn’t extend beyond eating and getting presents. As an adult, while the food is still important, it also means spending time with family I don’t see as much as I’d like to.
Years ago, the meal used to start with the fish in the early afternoon and then hours later, we’d have pasta, followed by dessert. While the duration may have changed, we still cover all the seven fish (representing the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church) plus the pasta. While it varies each year, usually we have crabcakes (my personal favorite), shrimp (cocktail & fried), flounder, scallops, calamari, clams or mussels, tuna sauce for the pasta. In addition to the main course, we’ll have an antipasto plus various veggies like stuffed peppers and broccoli rabe.
I explore more of the Christmas holiday in my second novel, Love’s Second Chance. My main character, Kate, is Italian, and the story takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. It was fun incorporating my heritage and family traditions into this story. I hope to be able to share it with you some day.
What special Holiday traditions do you have?
Here’s wishing you a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!