Christmas Eve Meal in US tradtion ? Lights?


#1

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 ?


#2

My sister in law's (Italian) family always had a Christmas Eve dinner with 12 or 13 dishes, lots of seafood, like calimari.

My own family (many generations removed from Ireland, Wales, and Germany) did not have the custom of a Christmas Eve dinner.

We did have outside lights, generally set up about a week before Christmas with laurel or pine around the doors and windows. The Christmas tree set up on Christmas Eve when we were very young, because Santa brought it. I don't know how he got it down the chimney because we didn't have a fire place. Later when we got older, we put the tree up with lights and then it got decorated Christmas Eve, with Lionel trains and the Christmas village on a plywood platform, edged with red brick crepe paper, that took up 1/4 of the living room.


#3

[quote="irom, post:1, topic:223705"]
Is Christmas Eve Meal present in US catholic tradtion ?

[/quote]

The depends on the family. There is no one tradition in the US, as we are a country of many nationalities and many traditions. The closest to a tradition is turkey and dressing and traditional American foods like sweet potatoes, etc. Whether these are eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or at all, are individual to various families.

[quote="irom, post:1, topic:223705"]
I mean a traditional (I'm Polish) meatless 12-dishes Christmas Eve Supper before opening gifts ?

[/quote]

No. I'm sure this is done in Polish families, but this is not a universal tradition among Catholics.

[quote="irom, post:1, topic:223705"]
And what about Cristmas tree and decorations , specially ligths outside houses ?

[/quote]

This too varies among families and cultures, but trees are pretty ubiquitous.

[quote="irom, post:1, topic:223705"]
Is it allowed during Advent or should start on Christams Eve ?

[/quote]

Allowed by whom? The Church does not regulate such things.


#4

[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 ?

[/quote]

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.


#5

We go to the Children's Mass and then have ravioli with Italian sausage (hot for DH, sweet for the kids and me), salad, garlic bread and cheescake. We normally decorate outside during the last week of Advent but this year we only got a wreath for the front door. We set up the Christmas tree and decorate it Christmas Eve and then open presents in the morning. We have Christmas brunch with ham and orange cinnamon rolls but other dishes can change (in the past we've done baked eggs but this year we did apple stuffed french toast) and then the rest of the day we snack on veggies and dip, a cheese platter with crackers and mustard, cookies provided by my sister-in-law, shrimp cocktail and other snacks.


#6

My Protestant family doesn’t have any particular tradition for Christmas Eve, but my Hispanic Protestant girlfriend’s family usually eats posole (with meat) because that’s just what New Mexicans do.

A Ruthenian Priest told me it’s because King Philip got an indulgence to allow him and all his subjects to eat meat on Christmas Eve - and my Archdiocese was founded by the Spanish Empire.


#7

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