For centuries seafood has taken a special spot on holiday tables all over the world. Unlike the traditional green bean casserole, eating different fish dishes is served up with meaning.
One of the oldest traditions stemming back to Roman times is the Feast of Seven Fishes, an Italian Christmas Eve celebration by Catholics to honor the birth of baby Jesus.
The number seven is considered the perfect number and is repeated 700 times in the Bible, making the Feast of Seven Fishes a symbolic Christmas celebration.
Dining can include seven to up to 13 different seafood dishes as a way to refrain from eating meat or milk on holy days.
One of the most famous dishes is baccalào or salted codfish; celebrants also feast on fried fish such as smelt and calamari.
In other countries around the world-
Eating lutefisk is a Christmas tradition in Norway and Sweden. It is made from dried whitefish, 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 ensure long life, and eating herring roe is to boost 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 seafood that isn’t so popular in the holiday celebrations in many parts of the world is lobster because it swims backward.
No matter what your seafood favorites are, include them in your holiday meals.
You could be starting your own family tradition, you will be giving back to the fishermen around the world.