Today a question from a reader. See they do get answered.
“Why is Friday fish-day? It’s something biblical, but I don’t know what.”
The answer is really simple. Jewish people used to fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Christians did the same but on Wednesdays and Fridays. Judus betrayed Jesus on Wednesday, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday are the supposed reasons behind it. But mainly they wanted to be, a bit different but not too different.
Anyhoo. There’s two schools of thought on why it’s fish. Some people will tell you it’s because of what Jesus said to some of his disciples when he converted them. They were fishermen and he said that he would teach them to be “fishers of men”. Aha a cunning play on words.
But actually the real reason is that meat was expensive and fish was cheap. Fish was even cheaper than lots of vegetables. So it was considered a “good thing” to show you were giving up stuff so people would eat fish.
Later on the Catholic church played down the Wednesday fast and said you only had to do it if you were a priest. Which means that most non-Catholics tend to fast only on Fridays not on Wednesdays. Except the orthodox who still do both. It was around the time of the spilt that the Catholics decided to concentrate on Friday.
To be fair not many people do know about the Wednesday fast. It’s one of those weird things that pretty much only the orthodox Christians and Catholic priests know about. It’s not in the bible for example. It was just a tradition like Christmas (also not in the bible).
And if you thought fasting was not eating then you’ve got another thing coming (or have had another thing coming depending on how you look at these things).
Basically fasting means abstinence in any form. So when people say they are giving up things for lent that should really be considered fasting. So you might give up everything at a certain time of day. Or you might give up certain things for a whole day, or a whole month.