Christmas Eve Ritual

text: “Every Christmas eve, on my Italian side, we eat seven kinds of fish. My mom is Italian and her parents came to the U.S. from Italy. They taught her that eating the seven kinds of fish combines their old Italian traditions and unites them with their new ones in America. The fish we eat are, clams, mussels, halibut, shrimp, calamari, etc.” – Informant

context: This is a yearly tradition on Christmas eve done by his entire Italian family. Even when they’re traveling, if they have no access to all of these fish or any of them, they will jokingly buy Swedish fish candy in order kind of fulfill the tradition. The informant learned this from their mother, who is Italian, and she learned it from her parents, who moved to America from Italy.

analysis: This is a holiday ritual but also a cultural food tradition done yearly by Italian people and immigrants. Done by a lot of Italian/Americans, this tradition combines their old culture with a new culture.