As its name suggests, Ash Wednesday is a day when the religious practice of receiving ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead happens. It is administered during mass by priests (bishops or ministers as the case may be). It is a penance act but other penance acts follow suit. This includes fasting, abstinence, and even resting.
Speaking of fasting on Ash Wednesday – which is the day that marks the beginning of the holy Lenten (lent) season in the year; is eating meat allowed? Keep reading this Meat Abolition Lifestyle post to find out about this, and more about the rules of fasting during Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Lent at large.
Can Catholics Eat Meat During Ash Wednesday?
Catholics and devout people who believe in Catholic law and rules are not supposed to eat meat during Ash Wednesday. This is because of the concern about red meat but for religious reasons. So rather than red or white meat; fish, milk, and eggs are good alternatives.
Why Are Catholics Supposed to Abstain from Meat During Ash Wednesday?
The abstinence from eating meat is a symbolic practice aimed at respecting the sacrificial offering of Jesus Christ’s flesh for the redemption of mankind. Meat represents flesh. This explains the justification for abstinence from meat during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Alterations were made to the church’s laws on this subject in 1966. Before changes were made during this time, devoted individuals were to abstain from eating meat on Fridays.
Do All Christians Avoid Meat on Ash Wednesday?
Not all Christians abstain from eating meat during Ash Wednesday. Some are devout but not Catholics. For example, a Baptist Pentecostal Christian may not even practice Ash Wednesday or Lent at large.
There are many sects in Christianity and this explains why some do not practice or even understand the laws of Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter, and all these symbolic periods for Catholics.
By the way, many other religions interfere with food choices. For example, there is Halal meat as opposed to Haram meat among devout Muslims.
Lent – The Season for Making Personal Sacrifices
Lent is a time to draw closer to God, especially by making personal sacrifices. Other than indulging in the act of prayer, Catholics are supposed to make personal sacrifices by practicing abstinence in several areas.
One of those areas is food. The intent is to show commitment to God and to be more self-disciplined. So, this 40-day period can be a time to abstain from certain lifestyle habits such as drinking, smoking, and snacking.
How Do You Fast during Lent?
Devout Christians who have reached the age of 14 are supposed to eat three times. However, only one should be a full meal. The other two meals are small portions; the combination of which should not add up to a full meal. Also, devout people don’t eat meat during Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the other Fridays during Lent.
However, exceptions are made for certain individuals. They include kids (those who have not reached the age of 14), elderly and frail individuals, pregnant women, and those with serious health conditions. These individuals don’t have to follow the rules to the letter.