I'm of Italian-American descent, and one of our Christmas Eve traditions was stuffing ourselves with course after course of delicious seafood dishes. My father was the chef of the household, and he used to spend all day boiling and baking over a hot stove to make our family his version of the beloved Italian-American tradition called The Feast of the Seven Fishes.

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The tradition of gorging yourself with fish and other seafood dishes on Christmas Eve traces back to the Roman Catholic tradition of not eating meat on the eve of a Holy, or feast day. The Feast of the Seven Fishes was introduced to us here in the United States by immigrants from Southern Italy in the early 1800's. Why seven courses? It's unknown, but is thought to be attributed to the 7 Sacraments of the Catholic Church, 7 virtues, "On the 7th Day", or possibly the Seven Hills of Rome.

My dad made 5 courses for our family: Baked Cod, stuffed clams, calamari, mussels, and baked, stuffed lobster. Sometimes we had oysters, and we tried smelts, and baccala, but some of my relatives didn't care for them.

That was our typical Feast of the Seven Fishes, and if you're feeling ambitious and want to carry this tradition on with your family, I've put together a guide of what you'll need, and where you can get them around Connecticut.

Your Local Guide to The Feast of The Seven Fishes in Connecticut

Feeling ambitious? Here's where you can get what you need to make, or where you can purchase what you'll need for your own Feast of The Seven Fishes

All of these seafood markets have an excellent selection of pre-prepared to-go items that will take some of the agonizing prep work out of your Christmas Eve meal.

If you need some inspiration, check out this article from delish.com, there's 53 different seafood recipes to choose from.

And if you're feeling like you don't want to cook, head to Highland Avenue in Waterbury on December 14, La Tavola, at 702 Highland Ave will offer their Feast of The Seven Fishes, and reservations are highly recommended.

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