Christmas Eve Menus (La Vigilia di Natale) at home & restaurants in Abruzzo do uphold the religious aspect of Christmas with the focus being fish, fish and more fish, likewise Italian culture consists of upholding ‘fare bella figura’ – keeping up appearances and making the right impression with dress, bearing and attitude. A small warning you’ll never succeed in the latter by partaking on in a traditional, shared La Vigilia di Natale fish supper!
Unless you really have a gargantuan love of eating what seems like 14 courses of fish, (7 courses of 2 fish types per course seemingly) to save face & embarrassment, I personally would try and avoid any invitations out with Italian friends to do the traditional thing! It is just impossible to not pull faces as the restaurant owner & your hosts as they bring out yet another take on the fried & roasted creature you felt you had only just finished 2 seconds before. You have been warned!
3 reasonable reasons for turning down kind fishy Christmas Eve invitations:
– Sorry, I am allergic to fried or roasted fish.
– I am helping out at the church.
– 7 is my unlucky number. (7 refers to the number of sacrements & virtues incidentally hence its religious importance!)
Useful Christmas Eve Vocab
Christmas Eve – La Vigilia di Natale
The 3 Kings – I Re Magi
Mary & Joeph – Maria e Giuseppe
The Shepherds – I pastori
The Donkey – L’asino
Baby Jesus – Gesù Bambino
Christmas Stocking – Calza di Natale
Christmas Tree – Albero di Natale
Christmas Present – Regalo di Natale
Bona Feste – Happy Christmas