feast of the seven fishes
an Italian tradition on Christmas Eve (La Vigilia or the vigil in Italian, commemorating the midnight birth of Jesus). The meal consists of seven seafoods including fish and other marine organisms, e.g. anchovies, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams. Seafood is eaten as this relates to the Catholic tradition of abstinence, in this case from meat. The number seven may relate to the sacraments in the Catholic church

Dictionary of ichthyology. 2009.

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