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Being Roman Catholic, back in the 40s & 50s, Christmas eve was a day of abstaince, meaning that no meat was served

Same here. Except that we always went to Midnight Mass and so never had a "Christmas-eve feast". Usually we had a snack when we got home (but that was when we were older - when we were younger my sister and I would both fall asleep at Mass).

We had my grandmother's pierogis on Christmas Day, hence the meat.

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