Related imageIf you are Italian American, it is likely that for you, Christmas Eve means that some type of fish is involved! The feast of the seven fishes is known as “Esta Dei Sette Pesci”. It is a Christmas Eve tradition celebrated by Italian-Americans. Although the majority of Italians enjoy eating fish during this day, not all are familiar with the origins, or the symbolism of the feast.

The origins of this annual feast date back to the Roman Catholic practice of fasting. On the Eve of certain holidays, such as Christmas, Roman Catholics were expected to abstain from the consumption of products containing meat and dairy. Therefore, an alternative was fish!

Many individuals wonder, “Why are there 7 fish instead of 6 or even 8?” The number 7 is extremely symbolic in the Bible and is said to have been used for symbolic purposes over 700 times within it. For example, the world was created in 7 days, there are 7 sacraments. Furthermore, there were 7 pairs of each animal on the ark. Other Italian-Americans choose to prepare 10 fish for each station of the cross, 9 for the trinity tripled, or even 13 for each disciple and Jesus. 

The seven fishes often include but are not limited to the following: Baccala, fried smelts, calamari, eel, shrimp, crab legs, anchovies, clams, lobster, mussels, octopus, and sardines. They are made into delicious plates and enjoyed by families on Christmas Eve!


Image result for baked codBaked Cod

Garlic Shrimp Scampi  

Fried Calamari

King Crab Legs

dish food produce seafood cuisine pasta basil clam tomatoes olive oil spaghetti clams italian food scampi carbonara fettuccine european food spaghetti alle vongole bucatini linguine clam sauce spaghetti aglio e olioLinguine and Clams

Fish, Squid, Octopus, Calamari, Salad, Cucumber, TomatoOctopus Salad

How-to-Make-Steamed-Mussels-in-White-Wine-Broth.jpgMuscles with White Wine





Auguri Di Buon Natale A Te E Alla Tua Famiglia!




5 thoughts on “Feast of the Seven Fishes

  1. The feast of the 7 fishes was wonderful when families were larger and gathered together. As we age it is too much food. Two years ago friends invited me to a Christmas eve celebration. The hostess made a stew using the 7 fishes.. wonderful meal without getting too stuffed. Try it. Merry Christmas.

    1. Our Christmas Eve Feast of the 7 Fishes, is accomplished, deliciously, and easily, by adding 6 more types of shellfish to a batch of Linguine with White Clam sauce. Adding shrimp, scallops, crab meat, lobster meat, calamari, and crawfish tail meat to the clam sauce, it tinges it pink from the crawfish juices. Homemade with just some evoo as the base, with garlic sautéed in it, and then discarded, adding only as much clam juice as needed to make an adequate amount of sauce,of course finishing it with an ample sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and two handfuls of snipped fresh flat Italian parsley, accomplishes the task quickly, simply, and keeps the important tradition alive. I made this years batch ( for 3 of us) with 3/4 lb of each fish, to a lb of Linguine. There was enough left for 3 portions yesterday, and requests ( as always) for a recreation of this yummy dish, served with crusty garlic bread and wine, more frequently t rough out the year, which never seems to happen…perhaps this year will be different ! Buon Natale, and Buon Appetit!♥️

  2. We never did it at home growing up. I decided to try it many years ago but only came up with six fish dishes so I put a bag of goldfish crackers on the table as the seventh. We all had a good laugh. Since then I’ve worked it out.

  3. I still make fish on Christmas eve, and I hope my children will continue to do the same. One dish I make is my Mothers squid pie,I love it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.