Why do Catholics eat fish on Friday?

+19 votes
asked Feb 22, 2015 in Culture & Society by Jodi (770 points)
I'm curious. Why is it that Catholics eat fish on Friday and not meat?

2 Answers

+19 votes
answered Mar 2, 2015 by Julio (890 points)
That is an interesting question. When I was young I had a good friend who was Catholic. I spent a lot of time at her house and shared many meals with her family and if it was Friday, there was always fish on the menu but never meat. I was curious so I asked her parents to explain the custom to me. This is what they said.

When Jesus was crucified and died on the cross he took his last breath on a Friday. We now call that date Good Friday. To honor His sacrifice, the Catholic Church said that believers should make a small sacrifice of their own on Fridays by giving up meat. Why meat? Well, for one thing, meat was considered a luxury. You could only have it if you were wealthy enough to buy it in a store or raised it yourself. Anyone, however, could grow a few vegetables or catch a fish from a nearby river or lake. That way, even the poor could still have sustenance while honoring their religious beliefs.

Here’s an interesting side note. It was because of this Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays that McDonald’s developed their Filet-o-Fish sandwich. One McDonald’s franchise owner in Ohio noticed that business dropped off sharply on Fridays because the Catholic customers were staying away. When he created the tasty fish sandwich offering they came back and business was booming again.
+3 votes
answered Feb 26, 2015 by Yehudis (340 points)
Just like you, I was curious about this too, so why do Catholics eat fish on Friday? This is what I learned from Wikipedia. Back in the days when Jesus walked the earth, it was not always safe to admit publicly that you were a Christian. Instead, believers would draw a symbol of a fish in the dirt so they could identify themselves to other Christians. They chose the sign of the fish for a couple different reasons. Most of Jesus’s disciples were fishermen. It is also the food that Jesus fixed for them on the day of his resurrection. To true believers it is representative of them as ‘fishers of men’ to draw others into the Christian faith. So, for those reasons, they chose to give up meat and eat fish on Fridays ito honor their Savior’s death on that day of the week.
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