Holy Week is one of the most important festivals in Spain. All the cultural, gastronomic, and festive events focus on this Christian Catholic commemoration for a week. In addition to being celebrated worldwide, Holy Week is celebrated in other Christian religious countries, such as Italy, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, among many others.
This holiday is full of traditions. One of them is the prohibition of eating meat during its celebration. There are many legends on this subject, but socially, there are still doubts about this custom’s origin and on which days the consumption of meat is prohibited. To discover why can’t you eat meat on a good Friday, we recommend that you continue reading this article.
Why can’t you eat meat on Good Friday?
Holy Week is a Christian commemoration of the Easter Triduum, which corresponds to the moments of passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent precedes this commemoration, that is, a stage of preparation that reaches 40 days, exactly the time that Jesus Christ was in the desert.
During Holy Week, the most devout Christians dedicate time to reflection and prayer, keeping Jesus Christ and the Easter Triduum always present. It is precisely Jesus Christ who, thanks to his infinite mercy, takes charge of all the sins of humanity to free the Christians who pray and fulfill this commemoration.
The days of Holy Week and their respective meanings are as follows:
- Palm Sunday: the victorious entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is commemorated.
- Holy Monday: Jesus expels the merchants from the Temple of Jerusalem.
- Holy Tuesday: Jesus announces the Denials of Saint Peter and the betrayal of Judas to his disciples.
- Holy Wednesday: Judas and Sanhedrin conspire to try to betray Jesus with 30 silver coins.
- Holy Thursday: at the Last Supper, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane and is arrested.
- Good Friday: Jesus is imprisoned. The way of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ take place.
- Holy Saturday: the resurrection of Christ is expected after his death.
- Easter or Resurrection Sunday.
- During these days of Holy Week, Catholics celebrate various acts through processions to stage the passion of Christ and the drama of his death. These penitents do a complete fast or, at least, comply with the prohibition of meat consumption to symbolize self-sacrifice.
Why can’t you eat meat on Easter and Lent?
The explanation why you should not eat meat in Lent and Easter has different aspects. One of them is that of penance since fasting is an act of purification for Christians. It is also an action that symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ, who left to fast in the desert before assuming his public role, or that of Moses, who spent 40 days and nights without eating. Another ancient Christian belief was red meat’s relationship to sins, such as lust and ostentation, or wealth symbols. To show sacrifice before Jesus Christ, meat was stopped during Lent.
In some biblical texts, the fish is the protagonist, making a special mention in the passage of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. That is why, in this age, Christians should opt for the intake of fish.
Finally, in other biblical texts, the flesh is interpreted as representing the body of Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion. Due to this interpretation, it is considered disrespectful to eat meat at Easter and Lent, elevating the gesture to the level of sin.
What days of Easter do you eat meat?
After discovering why meat is not eaten at Easter and the meaning of this commemoration, you may wonder if you can eat meat on Holy Thursday and Good Friday or not, among other questions. You must know exactly the days on which meat consumption is considered prohibited during this part of the year. The only day that meat is not eaten at Easter is Good Friday, so on Holy Thursday, you can.
And what are the days when you can’t eat meat in Lent? The days of Lent that precede Good Friday in this regard that is, in which this food cannot be consumed either, are:
The Ash Wednesday (the day begins Lent, Shrove Tuesday precedes), in which Christians fast and pray.
Every Friday in Lent.