And, in a special bonus segment, John and Pat sit down with songwriter Nancy Triggiani, whose 2018 hit “Dominooch” shares the story of the son of Dominick the Donkey, and takes its place as the newest Italian American Christmas classic. Here are a few highlights, and remember if you’re in the city during the winter season, be sure to see our beloved Yueltide exhibition, Holiday Express, now on view through February 28. 35. Dec 12, 2016. “Jesus is the reason for the season,” he declared, literally raising his arm, pointing to the heavens above. Stracciatella. on Why Italian-American Christmas is THE BEST, We are giving away a free Italian Horn Keychain, Here’s Why Italians Eat Fish on Christmas Eve. SUNY Plattsburgh. Feast of the 7 Fishes – An Italian-American Christmas Eve Tradition with a Wood Fired Twist Dec 19, 2019 Posted by Forno Bravo. From stuffed calamari to marinated eel to salt cod, we talked to Robert about the food traditions at … On Christmas Eve, many Italian-American families celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a meal consisting of seven different types of seafood or one or two seafood varieties prepared in seven ways. The old Tuscan tradition of the ceppo—a Christmas log, a huge chunk of wood chosen and dried specifically to burn in the fireplace over the night of Christmas, around which the family gathered and shared simple gifts of tangerines, dried fruit, and baked goods—is slowly fading as modern houses no longer accommodate the fireplaces of old. is an Italian-American blog covering Italian news, culture, recipes, videos, and more! https://anamericaninrome.com/wp/2019/12/christmas-traditions-in-italy Food, faith, and place have been inextricably and deliciously intertwined throughout history. If you want to better understand the tradition, keep on reading! You likely spend a week before Christmas eating light because you know that on Christmas Eve, you will eat enough for a family of 6! 1/2 pound ground pork. The Italian Christmas … Once she realized Jesus was the Son of God, she regretted her choice, and now travels around the world leaving gifts for all the good children on January 6th. by Francine Paino. Italian Christmas Recipes prepared by Italian Grandmas to help you celebrate Christmas Italian Style. Dressed like shepherds, wearing sheepskin vests, Zampognari are another unique Christmas tradition in Italy. A traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve dinner follows The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Roman Catholic custom. Presents aren’t the reason for the season, but most Italian families do exchange gifts as part of their holiday traditions. Christmas food traditions vary widely across the world and no two families sit down to the exact same meal. November 26, 2020. There are always 27 conversations occurring at once, at minimum. 458 Pexels Every culture has its own traditions, especially when it comes to the holiday season. For example, in some parts of Italy, they celebrate with The Feast of the Seven Fishes. https://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/italian-christmas-recipes Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. In major cities, you will find towering Christmas trees taking over the main square and smaller trees are increasingly decorating Italian homes. THIS IS THE FOURTH ANNUAL CHAPTER OF A CONTINUING SERIES AND A NEW ITALIAN AMERICAN TRADITION AT THE ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM IN LITTLE ITALY, NEW YORK CITY. Yes, as big as it is on your side of the pond among the Italian-American community, this amazing feast does’t exist as such in the Belpaese. 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. Also known as The Eve, this feast is an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with dishes of fish and other seafood. The final course is a dessert accompanied by a sweet or sparkling wine. From crab legs, to shrimp, to calamari, to even MORE, nothing compares to the delicious fish served on Christmas Eve! An Italian American Christmas December 2020 | William Giovinazzo. The house is full of memories as I spent my first 5 years living in… Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! https://italoamericano.org/five-things-typical-of-italian-christmases Most people celebrate at home and Christmas and St. Stephen’s Day are both national holidays. with loved ones.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. In Italy, it’s common to wish someone buone feste (happy holidays) rather than simply buon natale (Merry Christmas) because Christmas isn’t the only holiday. One example is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Italians brought many traditions with them to America, including their cuisine and Christmas traditions. Entering the United States by way of Ellis Island, the majority of Italians in the Ohio Valley came from Southern Italy, Calabria and Sicily. Make sure you find durable lights and ornaments capable of braving the wind and snow. Tag: Italian-American/Texas Christmas traditions Christmas in Texas–Italian Style. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been our Italian American family’s most cherished holidays, especially Christmas Eve! However, even though the trees are gaining popularity as Christmas decor, the true Christmas scene-stealer is the presepe (or presepio). There is a saying in Italy that you spend Christmas with your family, and Easter with whoever you want. This picture simply says it all. In addition to the central figures, presepe can grow into huge, elaborate displays with handpainted figures and motorized moving parts. Christmas Traditions 2021. All rights reserved. Movies . The tradition came to America with southern Italian immigrants, who would abstain from meat until Christmas Day and hold vigils on the 24th for the midnight birth of Jesus. While some people heard tales about Nonna killing eels on the side of the bathtub, two things are true for most: The Feast and the Seven Fishes is all about family and food. Someday I’d love to spend the actual holiday there, but I’m doing what I can in the meantime , Your email address will not be published. A decorated tree is usually one of the first decorative signs that the Christmas … Anyone who is proud to be Italian is even more proud around the holidays! Even the most common Italian Christmas traditions will vary from region to region. Now, let's get started to that lucky number 7. Several years back, an evangelical Christian co-worker was complaining about the secularization of Christmas. Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. Long lines at the bakery, and hours in front of the oven are always worth it in the end. I had just moved to California and my American friends, who took me to a Mexican restaurant on Christmas Eve, felt sorry for me that I could not celebrate what they thought was a heartfelt Italian tradition. the best places to visit during Christmas in Italy, A Quick Guide to Rental Agreements in Italy, Drinks at Caffe Florian: The Oldest Coffee House in Venice. Related Food So, it’s very important that everything is studied to detail for the special day. The last Christmas tradition to mention is one that is associated with Italy, but in truth isn’t Italian: the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Well, look no further, because in this episode we’re sitting down with Jeffery and Robert Tinnell, the Italian American brothers behind the hit film, “The Feast of the Seven Fishes,” an Italian American Christmas story available to you and yours on Amazon Prime this Christmas Season. Even though the holiday is celebrated around the world by many diverse people groups and in various ways, some traditions are uniquely American. Columbus Day. The entire family got in the car and drove to all the Italian markets in the city. Most people in Italy have never even heard of it. The creche is not the only Italian influence on how U.S. residents celebrate Christmas. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities. Crab legs, clams, calamari, squid, shrimp, and MORE! The seven fishes tradition is Southern Italian, and more Italian American than anything else. Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian American tradition celebrated on Christmas Eve. Every Italian family tends to keep with the traditions of the older generations, so the Italian Christmas dinner often includes the grandmother’s recipes adored by the whole family. Christmas tree traditions Here are some ways to have a little extra fun with your Christmas tree. Natalie is a food and travel writer who has been living in Rome full time since 2010. There is truly nothing like Italian-American Christmas traditions. 1/2 pound ground beef. Here are 7 Italian Christmas traditions that you can easily recreate at home, or ways that you can join in some if you plan to be in Italy for the holidays. Enjoy the monthlong celebration! Nevertheless, many are unaware of why Italians eat fish on Christmas in the first place! Dec 12, 2016. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American tradition rather than a specifically Italian Christmas tradition, it is typical to skip the meat on Christmas Eve. Required fields are marked *. Italian cuisine is embodied by many rich traditions and in the United States many of the country’s most loved dishes hail from Italy. Well, in southern Italy (including the areas around Rome), you will hear the unmistakable tones as you walk through markets around Christmastime. Italian-American food is based primarily on the culinary traditions of Southern Italian immigrants, although a significant number of Northern Italian immigrants also came to the United States and also influenced this style of cuisine to some extent. signals the start of the Christmas season. It also represents the fasting of meat before the celebration of Christmas Day. Learn how your comment data is processed. For instance, Americans tend to watch movies and special programs around the Christmas holiday time. Melissa Rebholz. Across Italy, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday, a time to stay at home (and eat!) It seems as though there are a few characteristics of every Italian-American's family holiday celebrations that hold unique to our culture. Here are a few of the more popular Christmas traditions their explanations and origins. Immigrants from Italy have long played a role in the economy of West Virginia. The Italian American chef is a pro at this holiday tradition and goes all out with her linguine tossed in a creamy, tomato-based sauce with handfuls of lobster meat. Gifts might not make up the central part of the holiday, but the family certainly does. An Italian-American Christmas Story. The most significant date in this feast that lasts a month is the 24th of December or Christmas Eve. SUNY Plattsburgh. Italian card and dice games are what make the holidays entertaining! With the passing of my grandparents, my father and his uncles have moved to sell the first Scordo home here in the United States. The Feast of the Seven Fishes, or Festa dei sette pesci, is an annual tradition celebrated by Italian-American families on Christmas Eve. The musicians would historically arrive from the hills to celebrate Christmas with their families but now they are musicians who carry on the tradition. Our Christmas Eve traditions have been passed along through the generations. Santa Lucia brings gifts for the children, until the arrival of “La Befana,” on the eve of the Epiphany, January 6. From having your Nonna teach you how to make pizzelle, to learning the secrets to perfecting crab gravy, Christmas Eve and Christmas day leave unforgettable memories and traditions for generations to come! 458 Pexels Every culture has its own traditions, especially when it comes to the holiday season. Some families do the gift opening on New Year’s Eve, while still others wait for La Befana to bring the presents on January 6th. Think bagpipes are a purely Scottish phenomenon? On Christmas Eve many Italian American families gather and celebrate with the seven fishes dinner. Recipe. The Feast is essentially a typical Sunday Dinner on holiday steroids, with several kinds of seafood spanned over three courses. Jennifer Sarcone. This tradition is a Catholic tradition as Catholics abstain … They take their names from their instruments – zampogna. Your email address will not be published. From my grandparents on down to my parents, my sisters and I continue with our beloved Christmas holiday celebrations. Gather round the table, pop another bottle of prosecco, and break out those photo albums to take a trip down memory lane. From Sicily to Naples, and Sardinia to Milan, Lombardy to Verona, and Tuscany to the Vatican, Italy offers a wealth of cultural diversity. The table is covered with biscotti, cuccidati, pizzelle, and tiramisu! Italy has many regional culinary traditions at Christmas. © 2020 Hardcore Italians. The first time I heard about the ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ was on my first Christmas in the United States. These might be opened on Christmas Day, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Basilicata: Cod with Fried Peppers. Learn how your comment data is processed. Centered on the Italian-American culinary tradition of seven seafood dishes eaten on Christmas Eve, the romantic-comedy is based loosely on Robert’s childhood growing up in West Virginia. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas… The Catholic tradition forbids eating meat on the evening before a religious holiday, therefore fish is the star of the show in traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinners. Italian American immigrant laborers pose with the "first train" over the Trolley Road during the construction of the New Troy, Rensselaer & Pittsfield Electric Railway, through Lebanon Valley, New York. One example is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. It is a stated fact that at least one family members laughs so hard they are in tears before the night is over. Leggi in italiano Usually an Italian American family Christmas involves at least 20 people, and that is just counting the immediate family. Origins and tradition. Among our most meaningful traditions are the feast day celebrations each village in Italy held for hundreds of years to honor their patron saint or the Virgin Mary, which we continue to celebrate in Italian-American parishes in our country to this very day. The meat and pasta make a serious comeback on Christmas day for the cenone (big dinner), and there is … Christmas is the one day of the year where all of the BEST Christmas desserts are served AT ONCE! In Italy, though, Christmas officially kicks off with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. 3 thoughts on “[Thoughts on the Table – 63] Italian and Italian-American Christmas Traditions, with Nick Zingale” Frank Fariello says: December 23, 2017 at 4:34 am . Christmas is a wonderful time to be in Italy because of all the decorations and history. We also made our 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. The sweet cake filled with raisins and candied fruit is eaten after many meals during December and January. You know that regardless of how full you are, you better make room for the desserts! My family always celebrated this in some form, and my grandmother’s meals during her time in the Bronx in the 1960s remains the stuff of legend. There is panettone in my fridge, an Italian presceppe in my living room and a Befana on my tree. In addition to the cut or artificial tree in your house, decorate one of the trees in your yard. I’m fascinated by some of the “Texas-American” customs, including Fried Turkey, on Christmas Day, which I haven’t yet had the pleasure of tasting. Credit: Popo le Chien; Wikimedia Commons. Radio City Christmas Spectacular. They simply enjoy the tradition, which often means coming together a few days before Christmas to cook the recipes together, as Maria Marino, the Events and Membership Coordinator at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, pointed out: “It's not just sitting down and eating together, but also bonding in the kitchen and learning recipes passed down from one generation to the next.” From Christmas Eve bonfires festively lit in piazzas, to the massive Epiphany Eve fires ceremoniously topped with a witch effigy to burn away the old year, Italian holiday fires could warm an entire village quite effectively. When Italians came to America in large numbers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they brought their traditions and customs. The Italian-American tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes takes festive indulgence to a whole new level. Italians came to the U.S. during a time of unrest in southern Italy. There are lots of seasonal goodies to indulge in throughout the country, as well, including panettone. Most importantly, Italians keep traditions and make memories during the holidays. Presepe are nativity scenes that depict the manger scene, with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. We Italian-Americans take our Christmas tradition seriously – as do Texans. A traditional Italian Antipasto – a large platter of Italian cold cuts alongside olives, anchovies, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, Italian cheeses and lots of crusty bread on the side. She regularly contributes to guidebooks, magazines, and more, sharing her love of la dolce vita between pizza slices and gelato breaks. The meat and pasta make a serious comeback on Christmas day for the cenone (big dinner), and there is often a kind of meat-filled pasta in broth. Food, faith, and place have been inextricably and deliciously intertwined throughout history. Christmas is the main event, but the holiday spirit really doesn’t wind down until the 7th of January. On Christmas, homemade pasta is a must, and lentils are served at midnight on New Year’s Eve for “good luck and prosperity” for the year ahead. This celebration commemorates the midnight birth of Jesus. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is the annual Christmas Eve vigil and epic seafood feast that has grown into the most beloved meal of the year in Italian-American households. The tradition of the special Christmas Eve dinner for La Vigilia (the vigil), came over with the unwanted Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Your Nonno probably looks a bit confused at all times because he has no idea what conversation he is a part of. Popular dishes include baccala, linguine with clams, calamari, octopus salad and … Add to this geographical mixing pot the factor of Christianity blending with older pagan traditions. The 12th day of Christmas is when the three Wise Men gave Baby Jesus their gifts. In the U.S., it … My husband and I hope to spend Christmas 2021 in Italy so that we can experience the Italian Christmas traditions from where my grandparents brought them. Plus, you’ll learn the history of some of these unique musical traditions on a journey from the American Heartland to the Hills of Italy. She is the founder and editor of this blog and prefers all of her days to include coffee, gelato, and wine. Befana had too much to do, so she declined the offer to join the Magi on their journey. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American tradition rather than a specifically Italian Christmas tradition, it is typical to skip the meat on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Tree. Feast of the 7 Fishes – An Italian-American Christmas Eve Tradition with a Wood Fired Twist Dec 19, 2019 Posted by Forno Bravo. For many Italian Americans, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a can’t-miss Christmas tradition.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! You have the seven sacraments, the seven days of … On Christmas Eve, many Italian-American families celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a meal consisting of seven different types of seafood or one or two seafood varieties prepared in seven ways. Would it even be an Italian Christmas if there wasn’t gambling involved? Plus, you’ll learn the history of some of these unique musical traditions on a journey from the American Heartland to the Hills of Italy. Join the world-famous Radio City Rockettes as they dance and kick, with precision and pointed toe, all the way into your heart. Italian cuisine is embodied by many rich traditions and in the United States many of the country’s most loved dishes hail from Italy. Make a squirrel’s Christmas merry. The tradition comes from Southern Italy, where it is known simply as La Vigilia. Christmas Recipes prepared by our Nonne - our Grandmas! The next course was Meatball Lasagna – my mother’s specialty. Huge bonfires abound during the holidays, many with roots in pagan festivals of old. Santa has begun to make an appearance in recent years, but there are several unique Christmas traditions in Italy that stretch back centuries and are still celebrated today. If you don’t eat at least 7 of your Nonna/Noni’s biscotti, she is going to give you “that look” and wonder if you don’t like them. It’s likely a regional, coastal tradition that found roots in America among immigrants from all over the home country. Today, Italian-American families still hold to the Christmas traditions of their “Genitori e Nonni,” but when it comes to exchanging gifts, they too partake in the arrival of the jolly old man in the big red suit. 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