As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I remember growing up not being allowed to have meat on Christmas Eve since it was the Eve before a High Holy Day. My dad's side was Napolitan/Calabrian and my mom's side was Sicilian. My mom said Sicilian's ate meat on Christmas Eve and that it was a Napolitan thing. However, in reading, it seems that Sicilians have a 7 fish meal on Christmas Eve.
Can anyone share any Christmas Eve Dinner customs and traditions from Napoli, Calabria and Sicilia.
It is a Catholic observance. No meat and only one full meal a day before a holy day. Different areas of Italy ate different foods, based on what was available and what they could afford. Both sides of my family were from Campania (Benevento and Salerno provinces) and all ate fish of various kinds. Salted Cod (baccala) tuna, whiting, shrimp, clams etc. But never a 7 fish observance, even though I heard this from many other Italians.
This year I am doing the family Christmas Eve dinner. The menu will be:
Antipasto di mare
Spaghetti con vongole
Baccala (cold) with garlic, parsley and oil.
Mixed fried seafood (shrimp, calamari, etc)
Salmon in phyllo pastry
Roasted potatoes, broccoli and salad
Cheesecake (special request since I am the only non-Italian)
I guess there will be 7 kinds of fish if you consider the mixed fry)