“The True worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.” Mother Mary McCloud Bethune (As in all of my posts, underlined words are links.)
I am dedicating all of my remaining posts this year to Black African American females because a race can rise no higher than its’ females.
The other day, I found myself wondering why when I was growing up everybody I knew ate fish on Fridays. As I always say, “Anything you want to know is just a keystroke away,” so I went “stroking” and found the answer and then some.
To my surprise, eating fish on Fridays is a deeply religious tradition, linked to the celebration of Easter, by a ritual known as “Lent.” Lent starts 40 days before Easter and one day after “Fat Tuesday.”
According to Roman Catholic Tradition (which is the origin of all Christian denominations), the observance of Lent started during the fourth century. The purpose of Lent was to examine one’s self in preparation for the Easter ritual. During this self-examination, one was also required to engage in self-denial by fasting.
There are two types of fasting: one is abstaining from eating any foods and the other is abstaining from eating certain foods. The required fast for Lent is to abstain from eating “warm-blooded” meats for 40 days, because it is a reminder of the shedding of Jesus’ blood.
Lent actually lasts for 46 days, yet, all Sundays are “Feast Days,” celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, the church do not count the six Sundays between Ash Wednesdays and Easter.
The significance of the 40 days is in recognition of the 40 days Moses spent on the mountain; the 40 years the children of Israel spent in the wilderness; and the 40 days Jesus spent wrestling with Satan.
According to the mandate of the Roman Catholic Church, in the early days of Lent, everyone fourteen years and older must abstain from eating “warm-blooded” meat during lent. The original purpose of Lent was to establish a religious connection and bond between the rich and the poor.
Historically, “warm-blooded” meats, dairy products and eggs were affordable only to the wealthy, so they would come down off their “high-horses,” and eat what the “commoners” ate during this religious period. Because of the availability of streams and rivers, everyone had free access to fish, so fish became the only form of meat on the menu during Lent.
Not eating “warm-blooded” meats during Lent was mandatory for Christians, and they were required to give up something “pleasurable,” as a form of spring-cleaning for the body and soul. This could be anything, ranging from casual sex to alcohol consumption.
On “Fat Tuesdays,” the early Christians would consume all of the fat containing foods on this day in preparation for the start of Lent. Today’s “Fat Tuesday” celebrations consist of many Christians taking the attitude of: “Let us eat, drink, and engage in all sorts of debauchery because tomorrow we must start fasting for Lent.”
Because of the numerous “Holy Days” established by the Roman Catholic Church, eating fish occurred several times a week. By the time Henry VIII became king, eating fish had become an almost daily ritual.
Alas, King Henry VIII’s physical desires surpassed his spiritual convictions and he changed the entire diet of his country. Because the Roman Catholic Church would not allow him to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, he divorced the Roman Catholic Church and installed himself as the head of the Church of England.
Once head of the Church of England, he divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn. Since the Pope was no longer in control, he had six wives total. He also threw out many other rules and customs of the Roman Catholic Church, including the mandatory eating of fish for religious reasons.
This meant that England no longer had to adhere to the dietary restrictions of the Roman Catholic Church and fish sales took a nosedive. When Henry’s son, Edward VI ascended the throne, England’s economy was in ruins and the fish lobbyists had become so powerful, that King Edward VI reinstated the ritual of eating fish on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Christian legend teaches that Jesus’ betrayal occurred on a Wednesday and his crucifixion on a Friday and the purpose of his death is the redemption for all of the sins of Mankind. Therefore, fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays is to commemorate the sacrifice Jesus made for Mankind. Over the years, the 40-day meat fast continued on Wednesdays and Fridays and subsequently reduced to only Fridays.
Prior to Pope Paul VI easing the churches’ restrictions on eating meat, Lou Groan had a McDonalds’ franchise in a predominantly Catholic section of Cincinnati, Ohio. Because of the Church’s ban on eating “warm-blooded” meat on Fridays, he lost considerable money on Fridays.
In order to makeup this loss of revenue, Lou created the “Filet-O-Fish” sandwich to “hook” his Catholic customers who “got away” on Fridays. His creation was a “whale” of a success and the corporate office added the “Filet-O-Fish” to every McDonalds franchises’ menu.
Ergo, I grew up eating fish on Fridays and McDonalds’ Catholic customers had “Filet-O-Fish” sandwiches in order to comply with the Lent restrictions, instead of their usual “Big Macs.”
Oh, what a blessing it is that my people do not read, think, or use common sense says “some” Pastors, Pimps, and Politicians.
Remember, “He who does not offend cannot be honest.” Thomas Paine