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The Tradition of Lent and WHY We Eat Seafood on Fridays


Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a time of reflection and preparation before the celebration of Easter in the Catholic religion. Lent spans for 40 days and 40 nights leading up to Easter Sunday and signifies the number of days Jesus fasted in the desert before he was crucified.

It is believed in the Catholic religion that Jesus suffered and died on the cross on a Friday. Because of this, Catholics recognize that day as “Good Friday” to remember Christ’s passion and sufferings by offering up a penance which, for much of the church’s history, has been meat because of its’ association to feasts and celebrations. Dating back to Roman times, ancient cultures considered meat to be a delicacy and was not prepared or eaten unless there was something to celebrate. Consuming a celebratory dish on the day of Christ’s death did not seem right and was therefore sacrificed because of it.

Back then, meat was viewed as any living thing on land; pigs, chickens, cows, etc. Seafood on the other hand was still eaten on Good Friday because it did not have the same classification. Fish was actually considered a penance in ancient cultures and was not a meal to be celebrated. Our current culture is much different and our idea of meat vs seafood has completely reversed. Meat is now generally considered the cheaper option on a menu and it is no longer connected to celebrations the way it had been in the past.

The Church’s main intention is to encourage people of the Catholic religion to sacrifice something of importance to be closer to Christ, who out of love made the ultimate sacrifice for his people. This is why, due to past tradition, meat is given up every Friday throughout Lent while seafood is still acceptable.

Lent’s traditions have contributed to the increased desire and consumption of seafood during this time. More seafood is purchased in supermarkets and even restaurants and fast food chains incorporate seafood options onto their menus to accommodate the heightened demand making it the perfect season for seafood lovers.

If that’s you check out these great recipes from our website:

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