why do we have to eat fish on good friday

Get Daily updates directly to your inbox Good Friday is an important religious holiday. But for many people, it is also associated with heading to the chippy for a fish and chip supper. However, not many know exactly why that is. Good Friday marks the day when Jesus was crucified after he was betrayed by his best mate for 30 pieces of silver. After Jesus' arrest, interrogation, and condemnation for blasphemy and treason, he was crowned with thorns, handed his cross and ordered to drag it up the hill to the 'place of the skull' Б AKA Golgotha or Calvary. This horrendous journey to his death is commemorated each year with the Procession of Witness, which sees a congregation following a cross borne through the parish. For six hours, Jesus hung from the cross in the Israeli desert heat alongside two criminals, before crying out at around 3pm and giving up the Holy Ghost. So why then, is it called Good Friday? Well, there are two reasons. The first is the fact 'good' is another word for Holy in this context. The second is despite the horror, it is Jesus' death (and subsequent rebirth) which is the cornerstone to the Christian faith. Without getting into the technicalities (philosophers, theologians and believers of varying denominations have spent lifetimes explaining, debating, and debunking the technicalities), his death, his sacrifice after taking on all the sins of the world, meant we could all be forgiven. Jesus' death means we have a chance of everlasting salvation Б and for the faithful that is a very good thing indeed. To mark the bitter-sweet significance of Good Friday, not only is it a bank holiday in many countries across the world, but in the Catholic Church in particular, it is a day of fasting.


What in particular should be fasted however, is meat. As one Catholic said to me: Because Christ sacrificed His flesh on Good Friday, we abstain from eating flesh. This is why many people eat fish on Good Friday instead. So why is fish allowed? Firstly, fish is from the sea so it is a 'different' kind of flesh. Secondly, the symbol of the fish is how early Christians recognised each other. Thirdly, the second reason is linked to the fact many of Jesus' disciples were fishermen, both literally and figuratively. And that's why you must eat fish on Good Friday. Another interesting fun fact - as a Holy day, until 2008 there was traditionally no horse racing on Good Friday in the UK.
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.

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