Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in South Philly
Is Italian-American culture on the wane there?
The roots of the Feast of the Seven Fishes (“La Vigilia”) are in southern Italy and the Roman Catholic Church.

Counterintuitively, the feast started as a fast. Traditionally, Catholics abstain from eating meat on holy days, which lead to the custom of preparing fish on holidays.
The vigil of Christmas — Christmas Eve — is a fast and a day of abstinence (no meat except fish) as well. Not the holy day itself.

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