Three Ways to Celebrate a Calabrian Christmas

Calabrian Christmases are full of fresh seafood, homemade desserts and fun times with the family and even if you aren’t lucky enough to spend the holidays in bella Calabria, you can still infuse a bit of these traditions into your holiday season.

Here are three ways you can incorporate a Calabrian Christmas into your festivities.

1. Think Fish

Calabrian Christmas Traditions: Feast of Seven Fishes
photo credit: Anarchivist

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is one of the most beloved traditions Calabrians took with them when they left their homeland and moved abroad and although Calabrians today don’t specifically celebrate this feast on Christmas Eve, they do, my fellow fish eaters, feast on seafood.

If you’d like to enjoy a Calabrian Christmas, prepare a spread of seafood dishes on Christmas Eve. I wrote a menu last year and you can also visit  About Guide to Italian Food for menu ideas.

Check out Seven Fishes Blog for more on the subject.

2. Put out Your Presepi

Agribrianza 2009
photo credit: albissola.com

Presepi is the Italian word for nativity scene and every Calabrian house I’ve ever entered during the holidays proudly displays their scene. While yours doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the one pictured above, setting a small nativity scene under your tree and not adding Baby Jesus to the group until December 24, will infuse a bit of Calabria into your Christmas Eve rituals.

3. Attend Midnight Mass

Badolato (CZ), Chiesa dell'Immacolata: interni.
photo credit: Fiore S. Barbato

Many Calabrians, even those who don’t attend church on a regular basis, enjoy attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. They often return home after the services to share a Pannetone Christmas cake and Prosecco with their families.

What other Calabrian Christmas traditions do you think people should incorporate into their holiday this year?

** In related news, my favorite Calabrian and I are headed “home” for the holidays. For the next few weeks you’ll see a variety of posts and articles on the home page that are pulled from archives. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

*** Congratulations to Calabrian-Canadian Deb from Nonna’s House for winning a one-day custom itinerary for Calabria and to longtime My Bella Vita reader “J” for winning the free weekend getaway at Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast … Auguri!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Contributing Writer for:

DKTravel1Michelin