Easter weekend is nearly hear, which means breaking the Lenten fast for many.
Easter Sunday is April 1 this year, with Good Friday March 30.
Roast lamb and hot cross buns will be on the menu on Sunday, but it’s tradition to eat fish on Good Friday.
Staunch Catholics will be well aware of why this is, and some practice it year-round.
For those of you who aren’t quite sure why this is, we’ve got all the fish-related information.
Abstinence from meat on Fridays is actually a rule laid out by the Vatican and remains in force today.
Many Christians, especially Catholics, refrain from eating meat on Friday, and this tradition is most popular on Good Friday.
Jesus was executed on Good Friday and died for our sins, sacrificing his flesh for us.
On the anniversary of Christ’s death, the church encourages followers to abstain from eating the flesh of warm-blooded animals on this day.
People are told to go for the alternative which is fish.
As fish comes from the sea, they are cold-blooded, it is thought of as a different kind of flesh meaning it is okay for consumption on Good Friday.
When Christianity was banned, fish symbols were used a secret symbol for Christians so they could identify each other.
Many of Jesus’ close followers were fishermen, and when he was resurrected he cooked a fish meal for his Apostles.
So, it’d be fair to say Christianity has a fairly fishy history.
There were plenty of meat-free days in the medieval Christian calendar: Fridays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, Advent, Lent and other holy days like Good Friday.
The global fishing industry exponentially grew as a result of the increased demand for fish because of holy fasting from meat.
It was an unspoken rule in the Catholic church that meat was banned on Fridays, but in the 1960s these laws were relaxed by Pope Paul VI. However, the Friday meat ban still applies to the 40 days of the Lenten fast.
The Friday abstinence guideline is still in effect for Catholics, but it can be avoided each week if there is some other sacrifice in its place.
Fun Fact: The McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish was invented by a franchise owner in Cincinnati in a particularly Catholic area. The restaurant struggled to sell burgers every Friday, and came up with the Fillet-o-fish instead.