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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas! The Feast of the Seven Fishes - An Italian Christmas Eve Tradition

Hi Everyone! 
I wanted to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!:) 
Buon Natale!! 
Thank you all so much for your friendship, love and also support of my music!
I hope you all enjoy an awesome time with your friends, family and loved ones!

Though these are very difficult times we live in and it has been a very tough year for me personally in many ways...It is important to count your blessings and remember those less fortunate...

Christmas to me...is about many things...Jesus of course...but also family...looking back on goodtimes, reminiscing about Christmases past, telling stories, laughing, loved ones lost and that are missed, loved and never forgotten and are in heaven...and of course FOOD!!:)


Today...we prepare for tonight's feast and celebration...and putting out all of the family favorites...the cookies and pastries..the fruits...nuts, figs, dates...the tangerines in honor of my grandfather...all of the candies....especially the ribbon candy(does anyone still remember ribbon candy!LOL)I searched everywhere this year for it!lol), the antipasto...olives, lupini beans, artichokes, caponata(eggplant), hot peppers, stuffed peppers, gardiniera, stuffed clams, Finocchio(fennel), shrimp cocktail, cheeses and...and...I know! how do we ever eat the dinner after that!:)lol....
I watched my Mom cooking today and last night for that matter, watching all her hard work, I can't help to feel so very lucky and blessed to still have her in my life and that she even has the strength...at her age with all of her physical ailments...to do it all...it is simply mind blowing!
We have been talking about my Dad and my grandparents...and how much we miss them...especially at times such as these...I have a pretty small closeknit family compared to many larger Italian families and I wonder at times how this will all carry on when my Mom joins my Father in Heaven and every one of the older generations is gone....I only hope to one day have a family of my own that will carry on these traditions...because...yes..as I may be a rock and roll guy, having the long hair and such, and being somewhat of a non-conformist some may say...I have a very huge traditional side...that sometimes longs for the past and better times these days...

Whatever your background may be..I think it is very important to stay close to ones roots and celebrate your wonderful culture and traditions...embrace your past...it's good for you!:)
Being Italian...and raised a good Roman Catholic boy:)...I have always felt so very lucky and proud...but as I have grown older and wiser and have learned more about my family's history through the years and have experienced many of life's trials and tribulations... I think I have embraced my culture and Italian heritage even more and more...

Being a lover of  history and all things past....
This is some information from my own personal knowledge and from what I have learned and researched over time, and stuff I found on the net that I put together about why we have fish on Christmas Eve...
I hope you may find it interesting...


Again... I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for everything!
Please post your thoughts, comments and share your rememberences of your own traditions too! 
Love,
Joe

The Feast of the Seven Fishes-An Italian Christmas Eve Tradition! 
Many Italians and Italian Americans follow the tradition based on La Vigilia di Natale, the vigil of the holy night, and do not eat meat on Christmas Eve, the night of the birth of Christ. Because the day is sacred, no meat is consumed, so the typical dinner includes fish. For Italians and Italian Americans, especially those from the southern regions of Italy, the Christmas Eve dinner includes at least seven fishes; but some follow a custom of serving nine, eleven, thirteen, or as many as twenty-one fish dishes.

Fish on Christmas Eve

Each number of fish dishes prepared has a reason—nine dishes are in honor of the Holy Trinity, times three; or for the number of months Mary was with child. Eleven dishes prepared represent the Apostles without Judas, and thirteen represent the Apostles with Jesus. Fish dishes prepared and served by large families and restaurant will sometimes number twenty-one, a derivative of seven.

The Tradition of Seven Fishes

Seven fish dishes is the most common, and the reasons are numerous. The most popular explanation for seven fishes is based on the seven sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (Eucharist), Confession (penance), Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Seven Utterances are also commonly sited. The Seven Gifts are counsel, fortitude, knowledge, understanding, piety, wisdom, and fear of the Lord. The Seven Utterances were the words that Jesus spoke on the cross.
Other reasons for seven fishes are the Seven Hills of Rome, the seven pilgrimage churches in Rome, the Seven Wonders of the World, the seven days that Mary and Joseph traveled to reach Bethlehem, the seven deadly sins, the seven virtues, and seven days in the week.

Traditional Italian Fish Dinner

The menu of fish served varies, depending on what is available. In Italy, the custom is mostly followed in the south, although some northern regions do observe; so the types of fish served and the preparations are as diversified as each province. In America, the custom is observed throughout the country, but family traditions—many handed down from the old country—will dictate the menu.
Most traditional menus include baccala, calamari, eel, scungilli, and smelts. More common types of dishes include anchovies, clams, mussels, shrimp, and lobster. The fish can be prepared in numerous ways, based on family traditions and according to preferences; and the dishes can be served either as separate courses or all at once. Many families today combine various types of fish into one dish. Cioppino, Italian fish stew, is a popular choice, as are large platters containing several different kinds of fish, either fried or broiled. Other common options are seafood salad—either with or without pasta—and stuffed seafood.

Christmas Eve Fish Feast

The Feast of the Seven Fishes reflects on the rich and varied history of Italians and Italian Americans. As with many customs, it has evolved with each generation, but the Christmas Eve Seven Fishes dinner is an important part of Italian culture. By keeping this tradition each Christmas Eve, Italians, and especially Italian Americans, remain close to their Italian heritage.


A few photos...
Taken from my Blackberry phone...so not so good...lol