It is one of the deep-rooted traditions of our popular culture: the Holy Week celebration. A few days of recollection in which the death of Christ is remembered and that has established, in addition, a series of customs that have remained with little variation for centuries.
One of them is the obligation to I do not eat meat on certain designated days during some of the liturgical days. Of course, at present, this kind of mandate not to try anything of this type of food is already relegated to a matter of personal decision more than a duty to fulfill.
It is forbidden to eat everything that is meat
This was stipulated by the Christian precepts for a couple of days in particular: the first friday of lent (in this 2020 it was February 28) and the Ash Wednesday (February 26) which is when, in the latter case, Carnival ends. Or what is the same, the starting point of the 40 days in which the faithful prepare to honor Easter Week.
Precisely, these couple of days are considered vigil, like Good Friday. In the latter case, tradition dictates that not only is it not that you should not eat meat, but that the correct thing would also be fasting and abstinence during those hours.
An abstinence, recalls Pope Francis (@Pontifex_es), which comes from the Latin word abstinent and that it refers to the time of penance before Easter in memory of the days without food in which Jesus Christ was in the arid zone of Judea. Thus, according to the precepts, the rules regarding food during these days obey a ‘didactic’ path to change the attitude of each one towards the rest of the people. One way, says the pontiff, to join the memory of the last hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. And it is that after that moment the trial for which he was convicted took place to die crucified.
But going back to the order on meat, to look for the reason behind this religious opinion, one must place oneself at the moment when Jesus of Nazareth spent those same 40 days (everything has a symbolism) in the desert without tasting just a bite. Especially of everything that was meat since in those times it was considered a reserved food to the wealthiest classes of the society. Thus, with this symbolic act, everyone who decides to follow the divine mandate will be performing a act of austerity in memory of Jesus.
But there are more arguments that are pointed out for not eating meat since it is also a product associated with joy; a feeling totally removed from a few liturgical days in Holy Week that invite reflection and calm; In addition, red meat represents for the Catholic Church the body of Christ crucified. Hence, as a recommendation, the option of eating fish is better in the case of those Christians whose age is between 14 and 59 years. It is to these faithful that a guideline is extended that, remember, is not mandatory at present.
In addition, the choice of fish as part of the main meal on those days, especially Good Friday, refers to the miracle of Jesus Christ with the multiplication of the loaves and fishes which served to feed all the people. Therefore, to avoid the temptation of forbidden food, the Church proposes a series of penitent actions such as giving alms to the most disadvantaged, reading the Bible or doing some act of charity.
On what days does Holy Week fall this year?
Knowing the days when you can not eat meat, it only remains to know the exact dates on which the celebration of Holy Week will take place this 2020. Thus, this year the period of recollection will begin with the Palm Sunday (which is celebrated on April 5) and which is followed by the most outstanding days of the liturgical celebration: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday on days April 9, 10, 11 and 12, respectively.
Some dates that are not kept fixed in the calendar of each year and that are established based on the spring equinox. More specifically, this moment is taken as a reference to place the celebration of Passion Week: on the Sunday closest to the first full moon of the day on which winter is said goodbye. In this 2020 that will be on March 20 at 4:50 a.m. to be exact.
A common rule in all the autonomous communities except when it comes to sharing the agenda when establishing religious days as holidays. Thus, for example, in the case of Catalonia and the Valencian Community, work is done on April 9 (Holy Thursday) since it is considered working but not the following Monday, April 13, the Easter monday that for its residents is a party (as in other areas). A day that, on the contrary, serves as the beginning of the work week in Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Aragon, Andalusia, Murcia, Asturias, the Canary Islands, Castilla y León, Ceuta and Melilla.