Can You Eat Meat on Ash Wednesday?

Updated: Feb. 03, 2023

Is fasting on Ash Wednesday the same as Lenten Fridays?

During the 40-day period of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday), Catholics are asked to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. That’s why Friday night fish frys are so popular during Lent, particularly in the Midwest. Then, on some days during Lent, Catholics are also asked to fast.

Can You Eat Meat on Ash Wednesday?

No meat should be consumed on Ash Wednesday. This is when most people start preparing Lent recipes. In addition, Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fasting.

Can You Eat Meat on Fridays in Lent?

No meat should be consumed on Fridays during Lent unless it happens to fall on a day of solemnity. However, eating fish is allowed. Plenty of restaurants and even fast-food spots will serve fish during Lent. However, there are plenty of great Lent dinner recipes that aren’t fish, too.

Psst: Have busy Friday nights? Test out one of these quick Lent dinner recipes.

Can You Eat Meat on Holy Thursday?

You can eat meat on Holy Thursday.

Can You Eat Meat on Good Friday?

No meat should be consumed on Good Friday. Additionally, it is an obligatory day of fasting.

What Does It Mean to Fast?

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “when fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.”

Who Is Obligated to Fast?

For members of the Latin Catholic Church, fasting is obligatory for people ages 18 through 59 years old. Abstaining from meat is on Ash Wednesday, Lenten Fridays and Good Friday is obligatory for those 14 and older.

People can be excused from fasting or abstaining during Lent. This covers anyone who is mentally or physically ill (including anyone with chronic conditions such as diabetes) as well as women who are pregnant or nursing.

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