POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a time-honored Italian tradition that started when waves of immigrants made their way from Italy to America, bringing their cherished traditions with them.
“Cena della Vigilia,” or the Christmas Eve dinner, started when Catholics fasted to anticipate the birth of the baby Jesus on Christmas Day. The fast would end when they received Holy Communion during Midnight Mass. Since meat cannot be eaten during the fast, Italians indulged in seven different types of fish or “fishes.”
Friday morning, Daily Voice visited Poughkeepsie's popular Four Maples Fish in Poughkeepsie, where early birds were out buying the Christmas Eve "fishes," trying to avoid the Saturday morning rush - which will be the busiest day of the year for area fish markets.
"This is a great place for seafood," Barbara O'Flaherty of Poughkeepsie told Daily Voice. "You know it's clean and fresh, hasn't been sitting around. The feast is a tradition among the family, sometimes I try to do the seven fishes, sometimes I change it up a bit. But we always do the fish, and I love it."
"I've known about Four Maples since they were in Fishkill," Anne Marchetti, of Poughkeepsie, said. "The fish here is so good, and their customer service is great. The feast is an Italian tradition, and we do the seven fishes - the fish can vary, but you pick seven, and you're not supposed to eat meat. We really enjoy it."
Four Maples Fish is located at 1820 Route 376 in Poughkeepsie.
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