Fish on Fridays (Miranda Cooksey, March 23 – March 29th)

Dan Boudreaux provides us with an article titled “Fish on Fridays: The Origin and Reason” to give us the insight of why Christians eat fish on Fridays and avoid meat/ fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and connects it to the period of Lent. Fish on fridays was started mainly because you are suppose to fast or avoid meat on fridays and wednesdays, the “practice changed and fasting during Lent occurred on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays were significant because it was the day Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas, and Fridays because he was crucified on a Friday just before the Sabbath began at sunset.”

The Theological issue being addressed is “the Jewish people would fast on Tuesdays and the Sabbath, or Friday evening to Saturday evening, and many early Christians were Jewish converts”, this tells us that it is not as common to see this, people have now chosen to only fast and eat fish during lent, which can tell us that maybe some Christians have stopped carrying out the tradition.

Relating this topic to class we can compare it to claims about God wanting mercy and not sacrifice in the New Testament, so we can say God is pleased by us recognizing it is Lent but not holding us accountable to us fasting and eliminating meat on certain days.  At this point in time during our class we are in the time period of Lent.

The question I have, is do people still practice fasting and eating fish on Wednesdays and Fridays or do you only carry out this tradition during lent because it is the time Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert? Or do Christians even carry out this tradition? Do you consciously avoid meat on Fridays every week or only during lent? For people who do not, is it frowned upon or is it just a tradition a lot of christians have forgotten about? If it is forgotten about should we leave it as is or spread word that this tradition should be brought into the light again? Why? Is a reason for Christians to slowly stop this tradition due to long work days, rushed times and mainly just not being observant to the period of time? Is this us following the New Testament and slowly letting go of the Old Testament? 

15 thoughts on “Fish on Fridays (Miranda Cooksey, March 23 – March 29th)”

  1. Personally, I do feel as though many Christians have strayed away from the tradition of fasting and avoiding eating meat on Fridays. I believe that in today’s society people are more focused on their occupation and making money to support their families. But on the other hand, their are some Christians who diligently practice fasting on a weekly basis and still manage other aspects of their life. I guess it just depends on the individual and how strongly they feel about their religion.

  2. I am a follower of Ethiopian Orthodox and we fast Wednesdays and fridays and also some seasonal fast. when we fast we don’t only avoid meats but also any types of dairy products. it is different from people tp people to include fish with dairy products or exclude it. some orthodox eat fish during fasting season including me but some of them don’t eat because they consider fish as a “meat”.

  3. I am Episcopalian (a Christian denomination very similar to Catholicism) and we do not typically fast on Fridays during Lent. There are some people that give up something for Lent, but it’s not really talked about much. There is a passage from the book of Matthew that says “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting.” Our rector just did a sermon about that passage before Lent started saying that if you are going to do something sacrificial like that you should do so privately, as it should be between you and God. We were also encouraged to not give something up, like meat or chocolate, etc., but to make Lent about doing something intentional like adding a devoted prayer time to deepen your faith.

    1. Hey, Christine, thank you for pointing that out about the sermon. On the first Sunday of Lent, my priest gave a similar homily. Thank you for including the Book of Mathew I have been wondering where I could find it in scripture.

  4. Tsebaot, do you feel as though as you become older and your life is more fast pace, that it is harder to be consistent and make time to fast Wednesdays and Fridays? Basically, I am asking is it becoming more difficult to follow the Ethiopian Orthodox, as you progress throughout life?

  5. For me not eating meat during the lent season on Friday’s is very important. I don’t eat fish so I can’t really comment on how I feel about that but I do see a lot of my fellow Catholics who eat fish on Friday. To me saying that life is too to not eat meat on Friday is a bit absurd. You know it’s coming so planning accordingly to what your meals will be that day can save you from being in any predicament. (Not trying to offend or judge anyone im a lot more hard headed then most people :)) As for fasting, I could be wrong, but I was always under the impression that fasting in the Catholic Faith during the lent season is only on days of Holy obligations, unless you choose to fast otherwise. I don’t know if this is traditional but now it’s acceptable to eat one full meal and then two half meals on those days.

    1. Mary,
      I agree that not eating meat on Fridays, if that’s what your faith requires shouldn’t be that hard to plan for. In today’s dining options there are so many non-meat choices available for those who abstain from meat, dining out shouldn’t be an obstacle. If someone chooses not to practice that, I don’t have a problem with it – just don’t offer excuses like it’s too hard, just say I don’t practice fasting. It’s really between you and God, you shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone else.

  6. I’m not entirely involved in the traditions like I was when I was younger, so I’ll speak for myself and say I believe this is a forgotten tradition. When my mother was a catholic she definitely made it a point to fast and avoid meat during lent. Actually, I don’t believe it’s forgotten now that I think about it, it’s just not PRACTICED as much…which can in turn lead to it being forgotten. I’m sure there are people out there who still abide by this tradition. also, I think that people may fail because of work and stuff but I also think some people see it almost as something they don’t have to follow through with so they kind of just give up. I don’t think people see Lent as what it really is but more of something they should participate in because it’s right to do so or because they should…

  7. I do not think its practiced that much, because I think it depends on what type of Christian you are. I am a non denominational Christian, and we don’t really fast, but we can choose to give something up for lent. People try to follow the bible, but I just think some people think its a little excessive. It’s pushed upon catholic children sometimes. I went to a catholic school. The school lunch didn’t serve meat on Friday’s so I think it depends on your faith.

  8. I think that there are many people who do not follow this (myself included). But in my family the only one who does it is my brother and mom. Now during lent my brother has decided to give up any type of meat completely so he will only eat fish. I on the other hand don’t do this. I think it is because we have different views.

  9. Each religion has their own practices and a choice of whether or not they choose to follow up with the practices. However, their choice should not affect how others judge their true faith and beliefs. I am a catholic and used to be not allowed to eat meat at all on Fridays during lent by my mother but now that I am older, I have chosen to not follow that practice due to the fact that the choice is actually mine to make. I have had a lot of fellow family member who are also catholic, frown upon my choice but what I choose to do is ultimately my choice and it does not affect how strong my faith truly is.

  10. I personally don’t follow this tradition (mainly because I am allergic to seafood) but my family does though they do not agree with my choice they respect it because they understand it does not impact my relationship with Him.

  11. I really think it depends on the person. This sounds odd yes, but some vegetarians will eat fish, some will not. So I think part of it depends on if the person believes that fish is part of the meat group…

  12. I always fasted because thats what my parents and family did around me, I never really understood what it actually meant until I came to college. It was the first time I researched what lent really was and why people did it. I did however grow up in a Catholic household but church was just another place I got together to see some of my favorite people I never took it seriously. I came to a conclusion that people fast not only for the recognition of Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights, but to humble themselves and help them realize that we should be grateful for everything that we have. The time of lent is supposed to teach us that sometimes the things we complain about are not necessarily important. It shows you the difference between wants and need. Majority of the people do fast only in the season of lent but everyone is entitled to fast whenever they want to. I now fast at least one week out of every month to give myself that reminder.

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