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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Fish On Fridays Is Somewhat Of A Tradition!

Growing up, for many of us in the UK, eating fish and chips is synonymous with a Friday night supper. In fact, for centuries, the tradition of eating fish on Fridays has been observed by various cultures and religious groups around the world.

But why do we eat fish on Fridays, and what is the history behind this culinary custom?

One of the most well-known reasons for eating fish on Fridays is its association with Christianity, particularly within the Catholic Church. This tradition can be traced back to the early days of Christianity. Fridays have been regarded as a day of penance and abstinence, in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Red meat was considered too indulgent for this day, and fish, being a simpler and more modest protein source, became the preferred alternative.

In addition to its practicality, fish holds a special place in Christian symbolism. The fish, known as the "Ichthys" or "Jesus Fish," became an early Christian symbol. This symbol was a discreet way for early Christians to identify themselves during times of persecution. As such, eating fish on Fridays can be seen as a way to connect with the faith's rich symbolism.

Eating fish on Fridays also has ecological benefits. Many proponents argue that choosing fish over meat promotes sustainable and responsible seafood consumption. This aligns with the idea of stewardship, which is a core principle in several religions, including Christianity. It encourages the protection of natural resources and responsible treatment of the environment.

But the tradition of eating fish on Fridays extends way beyond the Christian context. In various cultures, fish is considered a staple for Friday meals. For example, in Japan, consuming fish on "Fish Day" (a play on words with Friday) is common, and sushi is a popular choice. In many other countries, fish dishes are part of the Friday culinary culture, even in the absence of religious motives.

Fish also offers a wide range of culinary possibilities, from simple grilled preparations to elaborate and exotic recipes. The tradition of eating fish on Fridays has led to the development of countless delectable dishes that showcase the versatility of this seafood throughout the world.

From fish and chips in the UK to bouillabaisse in France, the world's cuisines have embraced this tradition, resulting in an array of flavourful options.

Eating fish on Fridays is a tradition deeply rooted in history, culture, and religion. Whether observed for religious reasons, ecological concerns, or simply as a culinary tradition, it continues to be a global phenomenon that brings people together over the shared appreciation of this remarkable and versatile food. So, the next time you enjoy a delicious fish dish on a Friday, you can savour not only the flavours but also the rich history and tradition that have made Fish Fridays a beloved custom.


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