Pasta on Sundays

The informant is a 50 year old woman. She is married, the mother of 3, and currently living in New Jersey. Her mother is Sicilian, and she told me about a weekly, Italian tradition that she partook in growing up.

This informant first remembers this tradition starting when she was in kindergarden. It consists of the informant, her 2 sisters, mother and father all eating a large pasta dish together every Sunday.  They would always eat at noon, right after coming home from church.  It was a special sauce made by the informant’s mom.  Her mom would always make the sauce the day before in preparation. The 3 daughters would help with setting the table. They would always say a prayer before eating.  This lunch was the main meal of the day.  Dinner later would consist of meatball sandwiches made with the leftover food from lunch. The informant described it as an “Italian thing.” She said that usually Italians would do a full, 5 course meal with antipasto, spaghetti and other foods and have a full day of eating. She said that her and her family adapted it, though, to only do the pasta part. She started remembering this tradition when she was in kindergarden, and it continued until she moved out of the house for college, so she participated for around 17 years.

My analysis: There is obviously no mandated law in Italy that everyone must eat pasta on Sundays, yet I have a number of Italian friends who do so.  Sunday is highly regarded as a holy day because in the bible, it was on the 7th day that God rested after creating the world.  This tradition most likely stems from people resting and eating on Sundays. Italy has always been a heavily Christian country, so the practice of relaxing and eating on sundays most likely started as a biblical practice that has now lost its religious aspect and is simply a remnant of the original practice. Italy is also known for its pasta, so it makes sense that the food being consumed is centered around a pasta dish.