Get daily updates directly to your inbox It\’s a tradition millions of us follow – eating fish on Good Friday. It\’s as much a part of as and the, only this tradition goes back much further. Christians have abstained from eating meat on Good Friday for centuries and many people, whether or not they are religious, still will only eat fish on the day. In fact many Christians, especially Catholics, won\’t eat meat on any Friday. The reason behind this tradition is very much a religious one. It\’s believed Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross on a Friday, Christians from the very beginning have set aside that day to remember this and \’unite their sufferings\’. This led the Church to mark every Friday as a \’Good Friday\’, where people remember the Passion by offering the \’penance\’. Meat was seen as a worthy sacrifice as it was linked with feasts and celebrations. In ancient cultures meat was seen as a delicacy and the fattened calf wasn\’t slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate. Fridays were seen as a day of penance so eating meat on a Friday to celebrate the death of Jesus didn\’t sit well with the Church. So why is fish not seen as meat? The Church law specifically said land animals. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs Б all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Fish aren\’t seen as the same classification. The distinction is mostly down to the Latin where the word used for meat is carnis, which means \’animal flesh\’.
Importantly, while meat was seen as celebratory, fish was seen as an \’everyday thing\’ with most people being fishermen. The reason it may seem strange today is the cultural change in how we see meat, which has now become more of an everyday meal choice. It\’s why people are often confused, as fish is now seen as more of a luxury. Can you eat meat on Good Friday? For Catholics observing Good Friday, the answer is no. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, marks the day Jesus Christ was crucified. The Catholic law of abstinence says that Catholics aged 14 and older refrain from eating meat on Fridays during, including on Good Friday. As well as this, Catholics aged 18 to 59 fast on both
and Good Friday – a rule within the Roman Catholic church that means you can only consume only one full meal, or two smaller meals in the day. Why is it called Good Friday? It may seem weird to call the day when Jesus was flogged and executed good, but there\’s a reason behind it. Some say it\’s good as it\’s holy, others say it\’s a weird corruption of God\’s Friday. It\’s technically neither, the Oxford Dictionary states the use is down to the actual meaning of the word, good designates a day on (or sometimes a season in) which religious observance is held. So good means when there\’s a religious day. The lesser known Good Wednesday, the Wednesday before Easter, follows the same principle. Saying this, there is documentation of it being Gottes Freitag aka God\’s Friday.
In Greek literature it\’s Holy and Great Friday, Holy Friday in Romance Languages and Karfreitag Sorrowful Friday in German. What else was banned on Good Friday? Historically, gambling was also banned in Britain on Good Friday, until 2008 when betting shops were given permission to open up on the holiday. And there was no racing on the same day until 2014. If you think thatБs restrictive, try getting a drink in Ireland on Good Friday. The Irish are supposed to abstain that day, with bars and shops shut or only selling the soft stuff. Ironically – considering BritainБs flutter ban – one of the places you can drink in Ireland on Good Friday is at the greyhound racing. Other tips offered to Irish drinkers include renting a boat, going to an airport, or checking into a hotel as a resident. In Germany, Christians ban dancing on Good Friday. ItБs illegal in 13 out of 16 states and clubs breaking the law can even be fined. Even in club capital Berlin it is banned until 9pm on the holiday. Not that they start until about 3am over there. You know you are in a Catholic townPwhen,PonlyPduring Lent, every single restaurant advertises one item on their menu: fish! I have even noticed how major fast-food chains point out on their fliers the date of Ash Wednesday! Suddenly everyone cares about the liturgical seasons of the Church! So why is it that the Church instructs Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays (as well as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), but gives the thumbs-up Pfor Catholics to eat fish?
Sounds fishy to me! First of all we must ask the question, why Friday? The Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church. Since it is believed Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross on a Friday, Christians from the very beginning have set aside that day to unite their sufferings to Jesus. PThis led the Church to recognize every Friday as a Good Friday where ChristiansPcan remember Christ s passion by offering up a specific type of penance. For much of the Church s history meat was singled out as a worthy sacrifice on account of its association with feasts and celebrations. In most ancient cultures meat was considered a delicacy and the fattened calf was not slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate. Since Fridays were thought of as a day of penance and mortification, eating meat on a Friday to celebrate the death of Christ didn t seem right. P(As an aside, when Saint Patrick s Day falls on a Friday during Lent, as it is considered a solemnity for many Irish Catholics. ) Read more:P But why is fish not considered meat? According to the, the laws of the Church classify the abstinence from land animals. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs all of which live on land.
Birds are also considered meat. Fish, on the other hand, are not in that same classification. Fish are a different category of animal. P Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted. In Latin the word used to describe what kind of meat is not permitted on Fridays isP carnis,P and specifically relates to animal flesh Pand never included fish as part of the definition. Additionally, fish in these cultures was not considered a celebratory meal and was more of a penance to eat. Our current culture is much different asPmeat is generally considered the cheaper option on the menu andPno longer has the cultural connection to celebrations. This is why many people are confused about the regulations, especially those who love to eat fish and do not consider it a penance. In the end, the Church s intention is to encourage the faithful to offer up a sacrifice to God that comes from the heart and unites one s suffering to that of Christ on the cross. Meat is given as the very basic penance, while the purpose of the regulation should always be kept in mind. For example, it does not necessarily give a person the license to eat a lobster dinner every Friday in Lent. The whole point is to make a sacrifice that draws a person closer to Christ, who out of love for us made the ultimate sacrifice a person can make. Just for fun: here is a to show youPwhat not to cook during those Fridays of Lent