Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love celebrating it especially with my Italian side of the family, which is my mom’s side. We follow a few traditions together as a family so this is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the ones that we already do and maybe even discover more for the upcoming Christmases. The traditions in Italy depend on and vary throughout location, culture, food, etc. When I first think of Italian traditions, I automatically think about food and its preparation, consumption, and the reason for it all. Most of the traditions are based on the fact that the primary religion of Italy is Christianity.
One tradition that my family has always done is the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which occurs on Christmas Eve. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American practice that originated mainly in the central and southern parts of Italy. In Italy, natives may refer to this celebration is “La Vigilia” (which means the vigil in English). Some theories as to where the name came from are, as you would probably assume, all come from the Bible. There are 7 Sacraments, 7 deadly sins, and it took Mary and Joseph 7 days to travel to Bethlehem. You don’t need just 7 fish, the number varies through families. We may never know the real origin, especially because each celebration is probably completely different and altered between each and every family. I like the idea of traditions like this because, despite knowing exactly the reason for it, everyone just does it because it’s what their family has always done. Our families are the people that always know, love, and trust us, and vice versa. Though it’s always interesting to research, I like how my family and I have always just gone along with the traditions of our previous ancestors.