No it’s not a bad idea, but we do suggest you book well in advance – both for your train and, if possible, for your restaurant! After the “light” Christmas Eve dinner, on Christmas Day, Italians invite their family and friends for a large lunch that usually goes on all day. We’re sorry you feel that way Joshua. Surely, they do have much in common. The Christmas’ Eve. I have a question about Christmas holiday in Italy. In Italy, though, Christmas officially kicks off with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. Of course just like any other Christmas celebration, festival in Italy cannot be complete without food or rather a feast. For a real slice of pure enjoyment, there's nothing like an Italian Christmas sweet. She stood about 5 feet tall in heels, and was just about as wide, and never ate when the meal was served, usually watching to see reaction to what she had made, and always saying one thing or another didn’t come out exactly right, but it always was!! Then at the stroke of twelve, the priest brought the Bambino Gesù from the altar and we all followed in procession as he placed the life-sized statue into the Presepio—the creche—near the entrance of the church. Nona was an incredible cook. Many Italian Americans celebrate Christmas Eve with a big family feast teeming with savory seafood stews, chilled shellfish, rich pastas and gorgeous baked fish. The feast seems to have its root in southern Italy and was bought over to the USA by Italian immigrants in the 1800s. Insalata di Baccalà ~ Salt Cod Salad. I really loved all the stories wish I could go and experience it on my own. ... Browse the sections and pages below and you will find many fish recipes for your Christmas Eve celebration, many Christmas cookies recipes and plenty of other recipes for Christmas Day. This is typical on the day and night before any religious celebration; you are supposed to ‘eat lean’ and purify your body ahead of the holidays! On Christmas EVE, we eat a meal … I love FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2. Is there something specific we can help you find? This tradition connects back to the long-standing Italian tradition of vigilia, a day of fasting that ends with a meal that excludes meat and dairy. Christmas Eve Mass. Traditionally served for Christmas Eve dinner, this meal consists of a spread of seven different types of seafood, from appetizers to main courses—and it can last for hours! An Italian tradition which is an instance of the blending of pagan and Christmas is called the burning of the Yule log, which must keep burning until New Year’s Day. The multi-course meal from la … In Germany, it's tradition for people to eat potato salad and sausages on Christmas Eve. My grand-mother, on my fathers side, was a De Martino, from Naples, and Grandfather was Gianfrancesco, from, his mother and father who were from Abruzzi. If you’re in Rome, southern Italy or Sicily, keep an eye out for the zampognari, or bagpipe players—they travel from the nearby mountains to play their merry folklore carols. It lasts mainly for one day signals the start of the Christmas season. After a full day of fasting on Christmas Eve, imagine the vigil night of December 24 as an endless feast of fish and pasta to fill hungry bellies. The eight days before Christmas, also known as the Novena, are filled with carolers singing traditional songs around the neighborhood. Italian Christmas Traditions. My favourite Christmas in Rome was when I went with friends to Ara Coeli for the midnight mass. Apart from the many religious traditions, this is the time each year when celebration foods are prepared and families gather together to enjoy this special season. The seven fish dishes refer to the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic church, or the seven days it took God to make the Universe, or the seven virtues, or the seven deadly sins. The eight days before Christmas, also known as the Novena, are filled with carolers singing traditional songs around the neighborhood. Christmas Eve was traditionally a day of fasting before Christmas … The main Christmas meal is on Christmas day, and of course Italians have several courses to their meals with this particular holiday definitely being no exception. The festive season is of course one known for providing many a treat for those with a sweet tooth. Babbo Natale (Father Christmas, or the equivalent of Santa Claus) makes the rounds on the night before Christmas, but another important day for gift-giving is Epiphany on January 6. Bring on the sword fish, tuna, salmon, octopus salad, smelts, calamari, spaghetti with clam sauce and the famous Italian classic—salted cod, known as baccalà. Get curated Italy travel tips delivered to your inbox! Spaghetti with Anchovies ~ Super quick and easy recipe. (So no, no one is saying Mary was pregnant for only three weeks!). The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italian: Festa dei sette pesci) is an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with dishes of fish and other seafood.. Feast of the Seven Fishes is the Italian-American name for a multicourse seafood feast on Christmas Eve. Walks of Italy, Via Caio Mario 14A, Rome, Italy, Update your browser to view this website correctly. It's so colorful with a tossed salad and garlic bread — and always gets raves! It had been a magical experience, and now the enchantment was complete. Fried Squid with Aioli. Right from childhood, Christmas offers a myriad of cakes, biscuits and sweets to be enjoyed on and around the 25 th December. (Some Romans even head to the Vatican for Mass with the Pope!). Typical Italian Christmas dishes include baccalà (salted dried cod fish), vermicelli, baked pasta, capon and turkey. One Christmas tradition in Italy: a Christmas market! Christmas in Italy is still very much a religious holiday. You'll find lots of soups, salads, appetizers, pasta, risotto — and most importantly, seafood. Four holidays, four very different tables and traditions. According to tradition, the meal for Christmas Eve, La Vigilia, doesn’t have any meat. Crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. There is no general agreement on its meaning.. After January 6, you’ll see Christmas markets close and decorations start to come down. Required fields are marked *. But maybe there was a holy day then that was moved. Here are 9 other reasons you have to see Naples! Gifts are commonly exchanged on Christmas Day after lunch—sometimes with the belief that Jesus has delivered them – take that, Santa!. Baccalà, or salt cod, is an appetizer or main course in Italy that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. Italian Christmas Recipes prepared by Italian Grandmas to help you celebrate Christmas Italian Style. 8th December is a public holiday in Italy marking the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the day on which Italians traditionally decorate their Christmas trees and their Nativity scenes. Italian Christmas Eve Dishes. Like many Italian traditions, the origin and rules are debated. Today, the meal typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. Instead they eat a variety of fish dishes - sometimes up to seven courses of seafood! The season begins with a "novena", a nine (nove) day-period of special church services ending on Christmas Eve. When Allentown residents Linda and Rocco Maniscalco lift the lid on the Italian Christmas Eve tradition …  The menu may also include pasta, vegetables, baked goods and wine. The Italian-American Christmas Eve dinner is a feast-style meal featuring seven or more seafood preparations served up as courses. As this collection of Italian Christmas recipes demonstrates, festive dishes vary from region to region. I wish I can go there this christmas!! Feasting on Fish to the Seventh Degree", "Feast of the Seven Fishes: only in America", "Mario Batali's Feast of the Seven Fishes", "Why Do Italians Eat Seven Fish on Christmas Eve? Each region has its own traditional dish for Christmas dinner: the cuisine reflects the characteristics and flavors of the local environment. Baccala alla Vicentina is much loved traditional Italian food for Christmas from Northern Italy. On the eve of the Epiphany, families usually prepare a large dinner to mark the end of the holiday season; children are given candy or coal (usually made of black sugar), depending on if they were naughty or nice. If you want to stage a similarly decadent meal, read our post on how to have an Italian Christmas meal, including recipes! Thank you for the informative post. The newly relocated fine dining stalwart made its tradition of chateaubriand a takeout affair, along with a classic Caesar. Sun-dried bell peppers dropped into hot oil for a few seconds … LA BEFANA Although Babo Natale (Father Christmas) and giving presents on Christmas are becoming more common, the main day for gift giving is the Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas when the three wise men gave Baby Jesus their gifts. Does this mean the Italian regions have nothing in common concerning the Christmas traditions? Very realistic and interesting. It still has whole streets with one workshop after another devoted to the craft. When we walked out of the church, we looked down upon a city that had come back to life: the buses were running; people were chattering, laughing, and rushing about their business. Christmas Eve traditions vary widely around the world. Natale," the Italian word for Christmas, is literally the translation for "birthday." Styles vary and may depict just the holy family or a whole village, but the baby Jesus is usually added only on Christmas Eve. "Everyone interprets the ‘rules’ of Christmas dinner in their own way. Photo Courtesy of Manu’s Menu . What a great post! The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, although it is not called that in Italy and is not a "feast" in the sense of "holiday," but rather a grand meal. Italian Village’s annual Christmas Eve prix fixe Feast of the Seven Fishes is steeped in love and the traditions of the downtown restaurant founder Alfredo Capitanini’s relatives. Southern Italy is credited with the advent of this tradition. Feast of the Seven Fishes is the Italian-American name for a multicourse seafood feast on Christmas Eve. Another of our favorite Christmas traditions in Italy: the festivities! We have celebrated Christmas with our family in Sicily. for more on those incredibly unique markets read our blogs on the 10 best Christmas markets in Italy and the Christmas markets of Venice. 3. Through this, the pagan belief wants to explain the purifying power of fire, because of which, all evils are demolished. They are traditions of Italy and might not be your own! The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, although it is not called that in Italy and is not a "feast" in the sense of "holiday," but rather a grand meal. But customs also vary from city to city, from exactly which dishes are served, to when to open presents, making every region an interesting place to enjoy the holidays. with loved ones. Tradition. The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà reflects customs in what were historically impoverished regions of Southern Italy, as well as seasonal factors. Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as La Vigilia (The Vigil), is a Sicilian-American traditional dinner on Christmas Eve. Italian Christmas Eve traditions. In Italy, many people fast for 24 hours just before the Christmas day.  Christmas Eve is a vigil or fasting day, and the abundance of seafood reflects the observance of abstinence from meat until the feast of Christmas Day itself. Deep Fried, Battered Salt Cod ~ Very delicious! It was a wonderful tradition I will never forget. Basilicata: Cod with Fried Peppers. May 1, 2014 - When one thinks of Christmas the normal picture that comes to mind is one of Christmas trees, gifts and presents and Santa Claus. Your email address will not be published. Today it’s also celebrated with a visit from the “Befana”, a sort of good witch that fills the stockings or shoes of the kids with candy. For many Italian-American families a big Christmas Eve meal of different fish dishes is now a very popular tradition! The secret … If you want to go to the source, head to Naples; the southern Italian city is world-famous for their hand-made presepi. You'll find lots of soups, salads, appetizers, pasta, risotto — and most importantly, seafood.