~Christmas with my extended Calabrian Italian family in West Virginia~
For the last 29 years,my husband and our 2 kids drive 12 hours each way to join my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins of all ages, to eat the seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. Of course, there will always be spaghetti, vegetables, salad. This year there were 40 of us. Then, we sing Christmas carols before we disperse to our cars to our individuals childhood homes to open presents and then attend Midnight Mass with full stomachs, heavy eyelids, and even fuller hearts.
Family is all important to Italians.
For the large Christmas Eve lunch (il pranzo), Aunt Angie makes clam chowder, we have shrimp, baccala, smelt, sardines and whiting. Aunt Mary Jane, Aunt Angie, and my mom, Josephine, and two of their brothers work hard for hours preparing. Cousins arrive and pitch in.
My daughter covered our feast on her food blog here, as well.
Uncle Frank wears my grandmother’s flowered half apron while frying the fish in the attached garage-turned-family room, the second kitchen.
Cosimo was my maternal grandfather, born in Caulonia Italy, Calabria. He was 17 when he voyaged alone on the ship to Ellis Island, never to return to Italy until he was 84 years old, (67 years later).
I hope, wherever you are, you experience the peace and love of the season with friends and family.
What traditions do you enjoy?