How did the Italian tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve originate?

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How did the Italian tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve originate?

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I’m a grandchild of Italian immigrants and spent a year in Italy, learned the language, met relatives, etc. Speaking from familiar territory, you need to know that Italians don’t eat a lot of meat. You don’t see meatballs or Italian beef sandwiches. Sandwiches are mostly bread with little meat. People buy lunchmeat by slices, not by the pound. Meat is expensive and they eat very little. We were entertaining Italian relatives and they couldn’t believe we ate meat every day. They had meat 3 times a week. I have never heard of a religious reason (fish on Friday) for the tradition. Before the global economy, cattle wasn’t a big industry in Italy but fishing was and still is. I believe the tradition started because that was the food available. This was brought to the US when the immigrants came over. I would be interested in other responses you might get.

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