Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary.
It is observed during Holy Week, the holiest seven-day period of the Christian year, when believers remember the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This year, Good Friday falls on April 15 for followers of Western Christianity and April 22 for followers of Eastern Christianity.
But why do people eat fish on Good Friday? Here’s what you need to know.
Why do people eat fish on Good Friday?
Many people across the UK traditionally eat fish and chips on Good Friday.
Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and sacrificed his flesh for their sins.
The tradition of not eating meat on Good Friday and opting for fish instead goes back centuries.
According to Roman Catholic customs, Christians refrain from eating the flesh of warm-blooded animals on this Friday.
This rule also applies to Catholics during Lent.
Some Christians, mostly Catholics, extend this tradition to every Friday.
Why is fish not considered meat?
Church law said not to consume “land animals”:
“Abstinence laws consider meat only to come from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat.”
However, fish are not considered the same classification, as they are also cold blooded.
When this rule was created, meat was considered a delicacy and a luxury. Animals were only slaughtered for meat when there was something worth celebrating.
Therefore, meat was considered party food, but fish was an everyday food as many people worked as fishermen.
Is there anything else forbidden on Good Friday?
Around the world, Good Friday is considered a public holiday, with schools and shops closing for the day.
These countries are usually those with strong Christian traditions, such as Spain, Brazil and Finland.
Laughing and dancing are prohibited in German, as comedic theatrical performances and public dancing are illegal on this day.
However, there were protests to reverse the ban, but with little success.
In Spain, Holy Week is a vital religious time, with processions taking place across the country, the most famous being that of Malaga.
Bermuda’s Good Friday tradition is to fly handmade kites to symbolize the cross and its eventual ascension to heaven.
Traditionally in the UK no horse racing was allowed, but since 2008 betting shops and stores have opened on this day and in 2014 Lingfield Park and Musselburgh held the first racing meetings Good Friday in the UK.