September 14, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Seafood symbolism from all over the globe. I’ll tell you more after this…
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With almost every holiday there lies a seafood connection. Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Since Rosh Hashanah translates to Head of the year, this has made fish heads a symbolic food on this holiday. Eating the head of a fish ties in with a prayer that states “Let us be the head and not the tail.” This refers to starting out the New Year as the head or leader and not the tail or follower. The Jews also believe fish are a symbol of fertility and since fish never close their eyes they help ward off the evil eye.
One of the oldest traditions stemming back to Roman times is the Feast of Seven Fishes, an Italian Christmas eve celebration by Catholics. Dining on seven to up to thirteen different seafood dishes was a way to refrain from eating meat or milk on holy days.
Eating lutefisk is a Christmas tradition in Norway and Sweden. It is made from dried white fish, usually cod that is prepared with lye, in a long series of water treatments until the fish becomes jelly like. This dish goes back to the days of the Vikings.
In Japan consuming prawns on New Year’s is to insure long life, and herring roe for fertility.
Feasting on pickled herring at midnight in Germany, Poland, and parts of Scandinavia is done in hopes of bringing in a bountiful catch.
And in China a fish is served whole, symbolizing a good beginning and end in the coming year.
One shell fish that isn’t popular in the holiday celebrations is lobster; because it swims backward. Cultures in Eastern Europe and Austria believe that eating lobster is bad luck on New Year’s. Consuming it will only cause setbacks in the New Year instead of good fortune.
Happy Rosh Hashanah. Find more fun fish facts and stories at Alaska Fish Radio
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.