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Ask Italian-born people and they'll tell you they have never heard of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Some shake their heads in disbelief, some make annoying, snobbish remarks, you can even find articles where it is not recognized as an Italian tradition. Maybe these people have never heard of the number seven, but the Cenone della Vigilia (Christmas Eve’ big dinner) is inarguably one of the most important events in Italian tradition for the Old Country as well as the New. Christmas is a two-day feast, and on the Eve you eat fish and seafood, period. 
Why seven? Seven is the most repeated number in the Bible; we also have the seven Sacraments; seven days for Creation; seven capital sins; seven days for Mary and Joseph to get to Bethlem. Seven hills in Rome, seven kings of Rome, seven sages of Greece, seven wonders of the ancient world, pick your favorite.
The tradition of eating fish instead of meat on the eve of holy days - like Christmas Eve and Good Friday - dates back to the Ancient Christians, during their persecution, in the first centuries AD. Fish was a fertility symbol for the Romans and the first Christians used it as a symbol of Christ, because the word itself in ancient Greek was ichthys, initials of Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter (Jesus Christ Son of God the Saviour). Believers in Jesus called themselves "little fishes" (Tertullian).
The Feast of the Seven Fishes, or Cenone della Vigilia, may include seven, ten, even twelve specific fishes prepared in different styles. The most important is baccalà (salted cod fish), something that everybody could afford in the past, followed by pan-fried sardines, whitebait and smelts (low in contaminants, high in good fats), baked clams, calamari, octopus salad, steamed mussels, and so on. Pick whatever is freshest at your local fish market tomorrow and start cooking.
Restaurant in Naples - Spaghetti alle vongole veraci, by IlSistemone