Customers head to fish market early for to prepare Italian Christmas Eve tradition

Many Italian-Americans living in New Jersey woke up extra-early this Christmas Eve to head to the fish market to keep the Feast of the Seven Fishes tradition alive.

News 12 Staff

Dec 24, 2019, 12:14 PM

Updated 1,619 days ago


Customers were sitting in their cars outside Peter’s Fish Market in Midland Park before the sun even came up – all so they would get first dibs on the fresh fish.
“Flounder, scallops, crab claws. We do a bunch of stuff,” said Brenda Santa of Midland Park.
Shrimp was the most popular item on everyone’s menus. Even Santa was getting in on the tradition, handing out samples of shrimp to customers inside the market.
“You don’t have to be Italian to like shrimp cocktail,” said Steve Sclafani of Peter’s Fish Market.
And while business inside may have been booming, the market’s owners say that it is really all about family.
“The customers, we know them really well. We know their names, we know their faces, we know what they like and it's a family atmosphere,” Sclafani said.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes originated in southern Italy and comes from the long tradition of Catholics abstaining from eating meat on the eve of a feast day.

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