Bring everyone together on Christmas Eve in the traditional Southern Italian style — with a feast of seafood done seven different ways. Buon Natale!

By Vanessa Greaves

La Viglia di Natale

On December 24, Italian families all over the world gather together for La Viglia di Natale—the Christmas vigil — where fish is on the menu instead of meat. Also called The Feast of the Seven Fishes, the ritual of La Viglia has been handed down from generation to generation over the centuries.

Why seven fishes? The number seven is thought to stand for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. With its roots in religious observance, La Viglia customarily ends by attending midnight mass.

Seven Fishes, Seven Dishes

La Viglia's favored dishes may vary from family to family, but you will likely find an array of seafood that includes the freshest catch of the day as well as clams, oysters, mussels, squid, shrimp, and lobster.

Swordfish a la Siciliana

Allrecipes Magazine

Meaty swordfish steaks are baked with a piquant sauce of olives, raisins, pine nuts, capers, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. "This was with out a doubt the most fantastic swordfish I've ever had," says reviewer Aja. "No restaurant experience could top this."

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Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread on hand to sop up the flavorful clam broth.

Clams Italiano

This easy recipe takes only 30 minutes from start to finish.


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Shrimp, Calamari, and Lobster

Simple Garlic Shrimp

You can control the heat on this super-easy shrimp dish by dialing back the red pepper flakes, if you wish.

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Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Peppers

Vegetables such as broccoli rabe and kale often round out the meal.

allrecipes magazine

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Tiramisu II

Dessert can be anything from a simple cake to a staggering display of sweets. To get guaranteed oohs and aahs, bring a traditional tiramisu to the table.


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