MOUNT VERNON — Today is Ash Wednesday. It’s the day that marks the beginning of a solemn, prayerful Lenten season for Christians, which leads up to the glorious day of Easter Sunday. And for many Christians, Lent invokes many ancient traditions and symbolism, including abstinence from meat consumption on Ash Wednesday and Fridays.
“We have this tradition of giving up meat on Fridays and on Ash Wednesday, during Lent, as a practice for Christ giving up His flesh for us,” Father Daniel Olvera of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 303 E. High St., and St. Luke Catholic Church, 307 S. Market St., Danville, told the News. “And since he gave his flesh up on a Friday, we abstain from eating meat from warm-blooded animals, (such as) pigs, sheep, cows and chickens. Usually, we also try to stay away from the taste of meat, like beef broth or chicken broth.
“Fish is a good cold-blooded substitute, but people sometimes tend to over-indulge on Fridays with the fish during Lent, and they’re kind of missing the point there,” Olvera chuckled.
He also added that abstaining from meat helps teach Christians moderation and self control.