[quote="irom, post:1, topic:223705"]
Is Christmas Eve Meal present in US catholic tradtion ? I mean a traditional (I'm Polish) meatless 12-dishes Christmas Eve Supper before opening gifts ?
And what about Cristmas tree and decorations , specially ligths outside houses ? Is it allowed during Advent or should start on Christams Eve ?
we spent most of our married life in Cleveland in an ethnically mixed neighborhood. our Polish neighbors served kraut, cheese and onion pierogi and mushroom barley soup
our Italian friends had the 7 fishes, always including calamari, plus pasta with marinara
my family (north of England forebears) had codfish cakes or finnan haddie, mashed potatoes, corn and creamed peas
my husband's family (Irish mother, German father) had colcannon (cooked kale or cabbage chopped and mixed with mashed potatoes, but also potato pancakes and fried fish, pickles, cucumber salad, the pickles are important but I have no idea why
I remember meatless vigils for Holy Days, especially Christmas, from my youth but since the discipline changed, not so much. In this house we usually have kielbasi, kraut, potato pancakes, swedish meatballs, and some store bought American snacks like chicken wings, pizza bagels and so forth. That is because we adopted my husband's family tradition of buffet and opening gifts Christmas eve before Midnight Mass (I guess because in spite of all that eating, it would be after Midnight by the time you received communion).
In my family we opened gifts on Christmas morning, had a big breakfast and went to the late Mass
I still don't believe in decorating, lights and tree before the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but that is personal preference, and an attempt to make the kids aware of the liturgical seasons. WE celebrated Advent with the Advent wreath, Jesse tree, and service projects like adopt-a-family.
Now living in Texas we are surrounded by Hispanic customs such as las Posadas, which take place on the evenings leading up the Christmas eve (la nocha Buena) beginning Dec. 17, corresponding to the dates of the O antiphons. There is a connection between them and the traditional verses of the songs sung by the pilgrims and villagers each night of posada, but I don't know enough Spanish to get it.
Other customs such as the pinata (which also has a religious significance and was a catechetical tool to teach the children about Jesus) are also enjoyed by non-Hispanics. The traditional food according to all the parties we have been to include tamales, hot chocolate and bunelos (sp?), a fried tortilla covered in cinnamon sugar. They are also big into fireworks on this and other holidays.