Can You Eat Chicken During Lent? (What is Catholic Fasting Rules?)

can you eat chicken good friday lent

When it comes to fasting during Lent, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. This means that you are not allowed to eat any solid food from sunrise to sunset. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you are not required to fast. Additionally, children under the age of 18 are also exempt from fasting.

So, can you eat chicken during Lent? This is a common question that many people have. The general answer is yes! 

During Lent, many Christians give up eating meat on Fridays. Some people may choose to give up chicken as well, but it is not a requirement. 

There are no specific rules about what you can and cannot eat during Lent, so it is up to each individual to decide what they will give up. Whether or not you choose to eat chicken on Good Fridays during Lent is a personal decision that should be made based on your own beliefs and practices. 

Can You Eat Chicken During Lent?

Catholics fast, which means they consume less food than normal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Adults often stop snacking and limit their daily meals to one big meal and two smaller ones.

Additionally, Catholic adults over the age of 14 refrain from eating meat – including eating chicken on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and every Friday throughout Lent. These days, eating lamb, chicken, cattle, hogs, ham, deer, and the majority of other meats is not permitted. But you can eat things like eggs, milk, seafood, cereals, and fruits and vegetables.

Exceptions do exist. The fasting requirements of Lent, for instance, do not apply to those who are pregnant, sick, elderly, or very young.

For the duration of Lent, many individuals also give something up. While some Catholics abstain from a vice like watching TV, others abstain from a beloved food like chocolate or chicken. You won’t be allowed to consume meat or other foods during the 40 days that follow Ash Wednesday if you are fasting from them for Lent.

The History of Not Eating Chicken on Friday During Lent

Lent is a Christian religious holiday that lasts for 40 days. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, it runs through Easter Sunday. During Lent, many Christians give up something that they enjoy, such as chocolate or cigarettes. Some people also choose to give up meat for the entire 40 days.

The practice of not eating meat on Fridays during Lent is centuries old. It is believed to have started in the early church as a way to imitate Jesus’ sacrifice of giving up his body for 40 days in the desert. The Catholic Church officially adopted the practice in 1215.

Nowadays, many people who do not observe Lent still choose not to eat chicken on Fridays. This may be because it has become a cultural tradition, or because it is seen as a healthy way to eat less meat overall.

What Are The Rules Of Fasting During Lent (According To The Church)?

The general rule of the church is that fasting is a good and pious work. However, there are several forms of fasting, and the church has distinct regulations for each.

The Lenten fast, which lasts for 40 days before Easter, is the most common way to fast. The Catholic Church mandates that all Catholics who are 14 years of age or older abstain from eating meat and animal products on all Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday and Ash Wednesday.

In addition, they could decide to skip out on sweets or alcohol during Lent.

On Good Friday, according to the Roman Catholic Church, Catholics can only eat one substantial meal or two lesser ones.

This rule is based on the idea that Jesus Christ went without food for 40 days and 40 nights before he was crucified. By eating, Catholics want to emulate Christ’s sacrifice.

What Are The Alternatives To Eating Meat During The Lent?

Many Christians avoid eating meat during Lent as a symbol of penance. Although this is a matter of personal preference, there are certain vegetarian or vegan options that can still serve as a symbol of this religious tradition.

One choice is to stop eating all foods that come from animals, like milk and eggs. It’s common to refer to this as a “vegan” or “plant-based” diet. While some people may find this severe, it is actually a highly healthy way to eat. There are many wonderful vegan meals that are very filling.

You might also limit your diet to exclusively eating red meat. You can thus continue to consume white meats like chicken, fish, and others. For some people, this less constrictive strategy may be more practical. There are many other health benefits to eating fish, such as the omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart.

So, Why Is Fish Not Considered Meat?

“Land animals” was explicitly defined in the Church law regarding fasting.


Laws that say you can’t eat meat on Good Friday or during Lent say that you can only get meat from animals that live on land, like chickens, cows, sheep, or pigs. Birds are also considered to be meat.

Fish are not considered to be in the same class as other animals.

The Latin language, where carnis, which means “animal flesh,” is used to describe meat, is largely responsible for the discrepancy.

Fish was a “daily item” since the majority of people were fishermen, but beef was a meal for rare occasions.

It could appear strange to us now because of the cultural change in how we regard meat, which has now become a more common supper option. Fish is now more of a luxury than a need, which frequently confuses people.

Early Christians ate a lot of fish, which is another reason why eating fish on Good Friday is not considered appropriate. The image of the fish was used to represent Jesus Christ and his followers. In addition, fish was seen as a dish that may be consumed on fasting and abstinence days.

Some Christians now view fish as more than just a Good Friday meal staple. They consider it a symbol of Jesus Christ’s love for all people and His willingness to make a sacrifice for them.

What Can We Eat Instead of Meat During Lent?

Even though the meaning of Good Friday has changed over time, many people still celebrate it.

Fish is consistently a wonderful choice for individuals who want to keep things simple. Cod or halibut, which are both delicate and flaky whitefish, may be prepared in a variety of ways and go well with most sides. Vegetarian lasagna is another common option. As a robust and full main meal, this recipe is ideal for Meatless Friday.

Here are some suggestions for meals on Good Friday that can help curb your appetite without breaking the fast:

1. Fish: Many cultures customarily consumed seafood on Good Friday. So feel free to indulge in some fish or shellfish!

2. Vegetables: There are many mouth-watering vegetable-based recipes available. Decide whether to experiment or continue with your tried-and-true choices.

3. Grains and legumes: These can be used to make soups and stews that are filling. Or try an alternative option like quinoa or lentils.

4. Fruit: There are various ways to include fresh fruit into meals and snacks, making it a consistently good choice.

5. Dairy: This ingredient works in both savory and sweet cuisines. Consider making a fruit pie, a creamy spaghetti sauce, or a smoothie.

6. Starches: Noodles, baked dishes, potatoes, and rice are all excellent options.

Desserts: While they can be enjoyable, try to watch your portion sizes.

Still uncertain about what to cook and eat on Good Friday? Why not try something new? Online, there are many recipes for inventive meatless cuisines from many cultures.

What Else Is Prohibited During Lent?

There are a few things that are generally prohibited during Lent. Some of these are eating meat on Friday, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and being a glutton in other ways. Some Christians also choose to give up other things that they consider to be luxury items, such as chocolate or caffeine.


In the past, Catholics were required to give up all meat on Fridays during Lent as well as fast from food for certain periods of time. 

Today, however, the modern observance of Lent is much easier, and many Catholics are allowed to do many things during this penitential season. For example, instead of giving up all meat on Fridays, some Catholics may choose to only give up red meat or poultry.

In addition, instead of fasting from food altogether, some Catholics may choose to only eat one meal a day or give up certain foods that they enjoy.

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