Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter, meant for abstinence and penitence, observed most formally in the Catholic Church. The current rules for Lent are that Catholics age 14 and up must must abstain from meat on fast days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and all Fridays during Lent. There is an exception for the chronically ill and pregnant or nursing mothers. That’s why churches have fish fries on Fridays and how McDonald’s came to serve the Filet-O-Fish. Fish is not considered to be meat.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
But over the history of the Catholic Church, the question of what is meat and what isn’t has been asked again and again. The original idea was to avoid basic livestock meat like beef, pork, and poultry. The rules for eating wild animals came up over time as Catholicism spread to different parts of the world, and local bishops made rulings that had little to do with biology, but a lot to do with the foods local people depended on. The reasoning for each animal varied.
In Canada, beaver is classified as a fish for the purposes of Lent because it is an aquatic animal. In the southern US, Alligator is considered a fish for the same reason. And in Central and South America, capybara is okay to eat during Lent, and has even become a traditional Lenten dish, because the animal spends so much time in lakes and rivers.
Other animals have received dispensation to be consumed during Lent not by being classified as fish, but because they were deemed essential to nutrition for the local population. In the Detroit area, muskrat is okay to consume during Lent because at the time the question came up, food of any kind was really scarce. Iguana and armadillo flesh also qualifies, and both are Lenten staples in Nicaraugua.
Puffins were once forbidden to eat during Lent, but in the 17th century were allowed because doctors testified that “the biological and nutritional qualities of puffins made them more like fish than birds.” From this we can assume that the porgs of the planet Ahch-To are okay to eat on Lenten Fridays, because they were based on puffins. Read how these exemptions came about at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. -via Fark
(Image credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)