While I am not of Italian descent, going to Catholic boys school (insert joke here) (insert "insert" joke here) I did have a good amount of Italian-American friends. Around the Christmas, this meant two things...."Dominick The Donkey" and The Feast of the Seven Fishes.
"Dominick the Donkey" is a little Christmas ditty sung by none other than the locally famous Lou Monte. Clarence will recall that Mr. Monte is also the Campari tongued crooner who sings "Lazy Mary", which the New York Mets Baseball Club plays after "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to distract fans from the fact that their team is nine outs away from losing another game.
Essentially, "Dominick the Donkey" explains how Santa deals with the very complex problem of his reindeer's inability to travel the hills of Italy. Here is a music video put together by a few of Brooklyn's finest to accompany Mr. Monte's opus.
The other Italian Christmas tradition that I was exposed to growing up was the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Wikipedia describes it as such:
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-American families have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.What I remember is my friend's families getting together to eat an obscene amount of food, drink lots of cruddy red wine made by one of their uncles, and yell at each other. Needless to say it was always a fantastic event. One year, when I was lucky enough to attend one of these all day events before going off to celebrate with my family, the matriarch of the family was almost in tears when she realized she had only prepared six "fishes" for the feast. Thankfully, someone saved the day by printing out this picture and putting it on the table...