Why can’t we eat meat on Fridays during Lent?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “Why can’t we eat meat on Fridays during Lent?” Also, we’ll explore what Lent is, what foods can be eaten on Lent Fridays, what Christian groups abide by Lent, and who is exempt from observing Lent  

Why can’t we eat meat on Fridays during Lent? 

Not eating meat on Fridays during Lent is a catholic practice, associated with abstemiousness and self-sacrifice. 

More specifically, it is practiced as an act of devotion by believers, to ascertain and uphold the divinity of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. 

According to scripture, Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday, and as a means to acknowledge his sacrifice, the faithful are encouraged to practice abstemiousness in his name. 

Eating meat, which was often associated with celebration in a religious context, is therefore considered a very basic-level form of self-sacrifice for devotees. 

However, not all catholics keep lent, and nowadays it is regarded as a matter of personal choice. 

What is Lent? 

Lent alludes to a forty day period of religious observance. The start of it is marked by Ash Wednesday, and it ends on Maundy Thursday–the Thursday before Easter Sunday. 

During these forty days, the temptation and other happenings in the life of Jesus Christ are commemorated. Namely, the events that transpired after he was baptized by John. 

The temptation alludes to an alleged visit Jesus received from Satan, while fasting in the desert. As he’d resisted the temptation, Jesus returned from the desert and continued with his teachings. 

Christians commemorate this occasion by emulating some of the abstemiousness, practicing altruism, and praying. 

Each church may have their own distinct set of rules and indications, though at its core, Lent is implemented to commemorate and indulge in the same virtues Jesus Christ demonstrated during his forty day period of self-restraint. The main virtues to profess and uphold include faithfulness, charity, and mercy.    

What Christian groups abide by Lent? 

Many Christian groups celebrate Lent, and implement different traditions as a means to commemorate the event noted in scripture. 

Notably; Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Persians, Methodists, and some Presbyterians, Baptists, and other non-denominational churches commemorate the temptation and observe Lent. 

In most denominations, Lent lasts for forty consecutive days, though some churches do not necessarily follow this tradition, in the consecutive sense, or in the duration. 

Each church follows its own set of established rights to commemorate the temptation and the passion, and by extension, have their own rules regarding fasting and other forms of dietary abstemiousness. 

In the middle ages, Lent was kept for all days, rather than just Fridays, and dietary tradition dictated that all animal products such as meats (including shellfish and dairy) should be eschewed. 

Currently, many churches are a lot less restrictive regarding Lent, and as a result, dairy is permitted in some denominations. Notably, fish and sea food ingestion is permitted in the Roman Catholic church, as most seafood is externally fertilized and as a result -conceived without sin.- 

How stringent lent is on its restrictions is a matter of each denomination. 

Who is exempt from observing Lent? 

Depending on the denomination and the country, some individuals may be allowed to follow less stringent dietary customs during Lent. 

For example, the Roman Catholic denomination established that those over the age of 14 should abstain from eating meat at the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday), and every Friday from there on, until after Easter. 

Additionally, adults from 18 to 59 must fast on these same days, although medical conditions such as digestive syndromes and metabolic diseases such as diabetes may be exempt from fasting.

Diabetics should not fast as it may cause irregular blood sugar levels, making them prone to sugar crashes and surges. 

People on ketogenic diets may also be exempt from not consuming meat on Fridays, as most permissible foods may be high in carbohydrates, and counteract their dieting to achieve acidosis. 

Pregnant women, as well as those who are breastfeeding infants are also exempt from fasting. 

Fish consumption was not permitted in previous centuries, though it is now allowed in lieu of red meat

If you have a metabolic condition or you’re otherwise uncertain if keeping Lent is safe for you, we encourage you to speak to a general practitioner and/or a certified nutritionist. Either will provide you with the necessary orientation for you to properly safeguard your health. 


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “Why can’t we eat meat on Fridays during Lent?” Also, we’ve explored what Lent is, what foods can be eaten on Lent Fridays, what Christian groups abide by Lent, and who is exempt from observing Lent  






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