• you can't??!??!! no wonder my ex was so pissed at me!!!
  • Wow, you learn something new about the Christian faith every day. I never knew that tradition even existed
  • Because that's traditionally the day that Jesus broke bread and fish with the hungry masses. Though that is also a Catholic tradition.
  • I thought that not eating meat on Friday was a year round thing for the Catholic church and that during Lent traditionally if was not eating red meat. And that you also hade to give up something for Lent, or was that meat?
  • I can eat all the meat I want on Friday during lent. But I'm a member of that cult of heretics known as Lutherans.
  • I think the lent observance might have been for sympathy for fishermen. After all, weren't some of Christ's followers fishermen? There is a pizza parlor advertising 1 Large Cheese Pie and 1 Order of Fish and Chips for $13.99, that just seems weird.
  • i think its something about fasting or giving up something.i believe it has to do with some hebrew tradition
  • It is an ancient tradition followed by Roman Catholics not to eat meat on Fridays, but that has been relaxed now. Why it started, I do not know , but I found this suggestion: Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Most often...(the) fast took the form of avoiding meat in the diet. In those days, meat was a luxury food. You either had to buy it in a market or you had to own enough land to keep cattle. On the other hand, anyone could grow vegetables or forage for them, and anyone could catch a fish in a lake or a stream. You could buy better fish and vegetables, but the point is that you could eat without money if you were poor. So meat was rich people's food and fish was poor people's food. That is why the most common form of fasting was to omit meat and eat fish. As for Lent, it was common to prepare oneself spiritually for Easter over the 40 preceeding days in the middle ages, but the exact rulings varied from century to century and place to place, so it never was a unified tradition. When the Protestant churches formed, it became an option only. (see
  • It is simply a tradition since Jesus ate fish on Good Friday (The last supper).
  • I'm sorry to have to contradict most of the answers so far except for Singwell's. As to the rest of the points of confusion: 1. It has nothing to do with what Jesus did, or did not, eat at the Last Supper. 2. It IS on Fridays because of the belief that Jesus was executed on a Friday. However, in earlier times, meat was forbidden all through Lent, not just on Fridays. 3. It IS a sacrifice Catholics are required to make to honor Jesus' sacrifice of his life. 4. It WAS mandatory for Roman Catholics every Friday all year until the Vatican II conference led to many changes in Catholic rules; NOW it is only mandatory on Fridays during Lent. 5. Lent is the roughly 40-day preceding Easter (actually 43.5, see #6 below). It is a time when Catholics are supposed to consider the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity's sins, consider their own sins, and make some sacrifice of their own, see below. 6. Because people are so confused about the length of Lent, here is an answer from Father Larry Rice, head of the Newman Center for Catholics for the University of Ohio at Columbus: ----"Lent is 43.5 days long, and is the same every year. The date for Ash Wednesday is determined by the date for Easter, which moves (First Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox). Lent ends with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, making it a total of 43.5 days long. Every year people ask me if Sundays are part of Lent. The answer is yes."---- There you have it from a Roman Catholic priest regarding modern rules. To help you get oriented to the explanation, Holy Thursday is the day before Good Friday; Good Friday is two days from Easter Sunday. Therefore, Easter Sunday doesn't count as part of Lent, which may have led to the confusion about whether Sundays count at all. Wikipedia gives the wrong answer about whether the other Sundays count; see Father Rice's explanation above. Eastern Orthodox Catholics used to excuse Saturdays as well as Sundays from Lenten fasting; Roman Catholics sometimes were excused on Sundays (after Mass). 7. The sacrifice Catholics make can be something like cigarettes or food or video gaming; or a favorite toy or habit; or something like watching a particular television program. It is supposed to be something that they enjoy and will really miss, that will remind them of how hard it was for Jesus to give up his life if they are having a hard time giving up chocolate. 8. The Lenten restriction on meat came out of the Middle Ages, when the Church declared fasts in honor of all sorts of events (certain saint's days, or in honor of a day of prayer for success in war, or in mitigation of sin for the whole town). These fasts were declared for religious reasons or for political reasons (the health of the queen, luck in war, etc.) but the underlying reason was, most fasts were declared to try to make the winter food supply stretch until spring. Remember, in the Middle Ages, there were no grocery stores. Whatever had come in at harvest was all everyone in town had to eat until the next year. Enforced fasts were a way of stretching the food supply out a little longer, and preventing people from eating up the livestock they would need the next year, and eating up the seed they would need for planting in the Spring. Remember, meat used to be banned for ALL of Lent, not just Fridays, so this was an effective way of protecting the food supplies at the end of winter. See any of the books of anthropologist Marvin Harris for more on the social usefulness of fasting customs. 9. The prohibition on meat includes white meat and red meat, including chicken. Fish and seafood were permitted, but unless your community was on a coast, you'd usually have some kind of a cheese dish, if you were lucky. At some times and in some places, a bishop might lift the prohibition on chickens and other fowl; but usually, bird meat was treated like other meats, and forbidden. 10. There are two odd exceptions to this: at one point, Church authorities declared beaver meat could be considered fish; and there was a similar situation with the South American semi-aquatic mammal known as the capybara, which was also declared a "fish" for the purposes of Lent because it lived mostly in the water. Note that neither beavers nor capybara are domestic animals -- eating them wouldn't cut into the core livestock needed to maintain farms in the Spring, see #8. LATE ADDITION: Another similar example: I just learned that muskrat also was a permitted "fish" in some Canadian/Northern U.S. regions, see and this fellow claims that sea turtles and iguanas are also permitted: Elsewhere, I saw references to intermittent declarations that seabirds could qualify as "fish," but I didn't find a source I considered reliable or specific enough about that. 11. Compare Lent to Ramadan for an interesting contrast in fasting customs. Note that they are both roughly a month long (28 days of Ramadan, 43.5 days for Lent). Both depend on a lunar cycle. 12. Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, got that name because in some regions of Europe at some times in the Middle Ages, it wasn't just meat that was forbidden during Lent: it was other animal products like butter and eggs as well. So Fat Tuesday got its name from the pancakes and other cakes that were made then to use up the household's supply of eggs and butter before Lent started. Note: if people weren't eating the eggs, the hens would have hatched them out, thus increasing the supply of chickens and domestic ducks at the beginning of the farming year. 13. Fat Tuesday is usually called Shrove Tuesday in English. To be shriven (or shrived or shroved) means to go to Confession, and many people do that before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, to be cleansed of sin before the long period of Lenten contemplation, reflection, and sacrifice. It may have been mandatory at some point, I don't know. It may still be mandatory; I don't know that either. :) There! A baker's dozen of Lenten trivia. :)
  • If you really want to learn something about the history of lent read this:
  • This is a tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. The truth is, that while the tradition may have started as a good devotional practice, it became a good work made necessary to earn salvation. We never want to give that impression. Salvation comes by faith apart from works, there is nothing we can do to be saved all the work was done by Jesus. We receive those benefits (offered to all) through faith (a work of the Holy Spirit, not something we do). That being said, you may eat meat on Fridays in lent, though you may choose not to as a personal devotional remembrance of Jesus' work, just know that it does not, in any way, contribute to salvation or faith but would just be a fruit of faith.
  • The practice of abstinence (doing without certain things) goes back to the Old Testament and the Jewish dietary laws which were carried over into parts of the early Christian church until the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). The theological reasoning is that it is a method of atoning for sin since chastising the body brings it under control of the spirit. Abstinence is first mentioned in a Church document in a decree of the Council of Toledo in the year A.D. 447 where the custom was to abstain primarily from meat on all Fridays and on days of penance. Canon 1251 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law prescribes "abstinence from meat, or from some other food as decided upon by the Episcopal Conference (conference of bishops) on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday." The National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States made abstinence from meat mandatory on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent and recommended that it be observed on all Fridays of the year but has allowed individual Catholics to substitute another penance on Fridays if they could not abstain from meat. For purposes of abstinence, fish is not considered to be meat because it comes from a cold-blooded animal rather than a warm-blooded one. Secondarily, early Christian art and literature used fish as a symbol of the Eucharist because the Greek word for fish, ichthus, is an acrostic (the first letters form the word) for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." The 40 days of Lent (Sundays are excluded from the count since we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord on this day) signify the change which we wish to make in our life. Throughout Holy Scripture, the number 40 signifies a time of change. During this time abstinence from something, whether it be sweets, coffee or TV is an offering to God and a method of prayer. Every time we are tempted by whatever we have decided to abstain from, we are to remind ourselves that we have given this up for God so that He can bring us closer to Him.
  • Meat does not count as giving something up for Lent
  • Listening to the above self-righteous remarks by Valparaiso makes Bill Maher's take on inter-Christian bashing on each other seem so very true. So tell me, which is the "true" Christian faith? Which demonination is the right one?
  • On Friday's what?
  • I can because I do not observe "lent" but choose not to because I am a vegetarian.
  • There's no law that says you can't eat meat on Friday. Lent is supposedly based on Jesus
  • Because Friday is the day He was crucified. For centuries ALL Fridays were meatless. The Church chose to designate days of fasting and penance so we would all be doing it together around the world. The scriptures tell us in both the OT and NT that fasting and penance is good for us. Now, the Church has declared that on Fridays outside of Lent, we can substitute an act of charity or contrition for our Friday obligation.

Copyright 2023, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy