I'm new to the newsletter so the Italian Christmas Eve traditions may have been discussed at other times, but what I remember most was due to the fact that Christmas Eve was a day of abstinence; you could not eat meat, so the entire meal was made up of different preparations of seafood, preceded by thin spaghetti with oil and garlic. This would be the meal of 7 fishes that Italians are famous for. I don't remember why it's seven, but it was, although in my family I don't ever remember counting to see if there were seven.
We have held on to this tradition and Christmas Eve is as important as Christmas Day to us. It is the day that the entire family makes an effort to gather together. Now that the kids have families of their own, it's much harder, but Christmas Eve dinner remains the most popular meal of the year. The dinner now includes some non-seafood items as some of the in-laws don't like seafood!
Strufoli, bow-tie cookies and zeppoles (some with anchovie or baccala and some with sugar) were prepared for the Christmas holiday. I still do both.
Thanks for your newsletter