Bowl of squid with chickpeas and celery
The Origin Of The Italian-American Feast Of The Seven Fishes
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a huge Christmas Eve dinner consisting of seven different fish and seafood dishes, an Italian-American tradition since the early 1900s.
However, the Roman Catholic Calendar doesn't recognize the Feast. Rather, per the lore, it may have started among 20th-century Italian-American immigrants.
In many ways, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a fusion of new meets old. In Italy, the Feast isn’t a thing — it is a uniquely Italian-American tradition.
Nobody seems to know exactly where the Feast came from or what the "seven fishes" part is all about. It might have been inspired by the biblical importance of the number seven.
Additionally, many Italian Americans practice Roman Catholicism and don't eat meat on holidays. This may have prompted the Feast, as eating seafood doesn't count.