Do Catholics eat fish on Holy Thursday?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Catholics are allowed to eat fish on Holy Thursday. Holy Thursday marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, which includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday. On these days, Catholics are still required to abstain from eating meat as an act of penance. However, fish is considered an exception to this rule and can be eaten on these days.

The tradition of abstaining from meat on certain days during Lent and other designated days throughout the year has been practiced by Catholics for centuries. This practice is seen as a way to imitate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and to remind believers of his suffering and death on the cross. By abstaining from meat, Catholics are encouraged to focus on spiritual reflection, prayer, and acts of charity during this solemn period.

Fish has historically been exempted from the definition of meat in the context of Catholic dietary laws. This exemption is believed to have originated from the fact that fish was a common food source in biblical times and was associated with Jesus’ miracles, such as the multiplication of loaves and fishes. As a result, fish became a symbol of abundance and a reminder of Jesus’ teachings and miracles.

It’s worth noting that while fish is allowed on Holy Thursday, Catholics are still encouraged to observe moderation and not indulge in excessive or luxurious meals. The purpose of abstaining from meat is not simply to replace it with a more expensive or extravagant alternative, but rather to practice self-discipline and simplicity.

In my personal experience, I have seen many Catholics include fish as part of their meals on Holy Thursday. It is common to find fish dishes, such as baked or grilled fish, fish stew, or fish fillets, being prepared and enjoyed by Catholic families or at church gatherings. This practice helps to create a sense of unity and shared observance among the faithful during the Lenten season.

To sum up, Catholics are permitted to eat fish on Holy Thursday, along with other days of abstinence during Lent. This exemption recognizes the historical significance of fish and allows believers to adhere to the traditional practice of penance while still partaking in a nutritious and culturally significant food source.