Why do some Christians eat fish on Good Friday?

Why do some Christians eat fish on Good Friday? Written by Roger Waite

Why do some Christians eat fish on Good Friday?

When I was young my mother was always insistent that on Good Friday we would have fish and chips for dinner that night. When I questioned her and asked her why, her answer was that Jesus didn't eat meat on Good Friday and so we eat fish to commemorate that.

My logical mind kicked into gear and I thought "What? That doesn't make sense." I was aware that Jesus, on the day He was crucified, was held captive by Roman soldiers and had no opportunity to eat any kind of meal – let alone fish. So where did this tradition of eating fish on Friday originate?

In his book "Babylon Mystery Religion", author Ralph Woodrow explains its origins in the quote below:

Certainly the Scriptures never associate fish with Friday. On the other hand, the word "Friday" comes from the name of "Freya", who was regarded as the goddess of peace, joy and FERTILITY, the symbol of fertility being the FISH. From very early times the fish was a symbol of fertility...The word "fish" comes from "dag" which implies increase or fertility...The fish was regarded as sacred to Ashtoreth, the name under which the Israelites worshipped the pagan goddess. In ancient Egypt, Isis was sometimes represented with a fish on her head.

Consider that Friday was named after the goddess of sexual fertility, Friday being her sacred day and the fish her symbol, it seems more than a mere coincidence that...[Good] Friday is a day of abstinence from meat, a day to eat fish! (p.142-143)

In Babylon the fertility goddess Freya was known as Ishtar. The word Easter is derived from this fertility goddess. Friday was the sacred day of this fertility goddess.

Have you ever wondered how could there be three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning between when Jesus died and rose again from the grave? Notice what Jesus Himself stated very plainly:

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40).

Might there be some connection between the custom of Friday being a sacred day to Freya (Ishtar/Easter) and why the death of Jesus is celebrated on a Friday, only 1 day and 2 nights before Sunday sunrise, as opposed to 3 days and 3 nights?

To my amazement, as I studied the Scriptures I found that Jesus was not crucified on Friday as is traditionally believed in the Christian world. So you may ask, if Jesus was not crucified on Friday, on what day did He die?

If the crucifixion of Jesus took place on Friday and He was buried in the late afternoon just before sunset, then three days and three nights later would place His resurrection late afternoon on Monday – not Sunday morning, as is commonly assumed. The gospel writers tell of several different visits made by the disciples to the tomb on that first day of the week. In every instance, they found the tomb EMPTY!

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus kept the Passover - on the day noted in Leviticus 23:5. The Sabbath on the day after Christ was crucified was a high day – it was an annual Sabbath (not a weekly Sabbath). It was the first Day of the feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8) which could occur on a day other than Saturday. In the year of His death it occurred on a Thursday.

In John 19:30-31 we read:
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Jesus' death and burial was shortly before Wednesday sunset - NOT on a Friday (Freya's day). And, as stated in Matthew 12:39-40, Jesus said He would be in the grave for three days and three nights. This places His resurrection towards sunset on Saturday, not Sunday morning.

In chronological order Luke 23:54-56 states that Jesus was buried, the Sabbath drew on (the high day), they returned to prepare spices which would have happened on the Friday as they wouldn't have done so on the high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (Thursday) and then rested on the weekly Sabbath. The Good Friday/Easter observances do not reflect the sequence of events surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection.

In the New Testament we find Jesus observing the Passover (Matthew 26:18), one of seven festivals that God gave to ancient Israel. When God gave Israel the instructions on how to keep each of these festivals He started by calling them "the feasts of THE LORD" (Leviticus 23:2).

Passover is not just the record of the death angel sparing Israel during the plagues of Egypt, the Passover has great meaning for us today – through His death and resurrection, we may have our sins forgiven and be spared from the penalty of sin which is death - because "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Instead of just celebrating coming out of Egypt, the feast of Unleavened Bread which follows the Passover celebrates our coming out of sins (1 Corinthians 5:8). Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) now celebrates the birth of the Church (Acts 2) – and the first harvest of human beings in God's great plan of salvation.

The four latter festivals don't just celebrate physical events such as the greater physical harvest but the great harvest of souls to occur after Christ's return and other end-time events. Paul referred to feasts which "are a shadow of things to come" in Colossians 2:17.

If you wish to know more about the origin of the Good Friday/Easter customs and more about the wonderful festivals of God that specifically describe His great step-by-step plan for mankind's salvation then be sure to download or request a copy of our free booklets: "Holidays or Holy Days" and "God's Holy Day Plan".


Related Articles

Holidays or Holy Days?

Holidays or Holy Days?

Many people are shocked to discover the origins of our most popular religious holidays. They are also surprised to find that the days God commands us to observe in the Bible-the same days Jesus Christ and the apostles kept-are almost universally ignored. Why? Also, why are today's supposedly Christian holidays observed with so many rituals and customs that are not sanctioned anywhere in the Bible? In this booklet you'll discover detailed answers to these questions.

God's Holy Day Plan

God's Holy Day Plan

Is it possible to know what the future holds for us? The Creator of mankind does have a plan for us, and He reveals it to us through an annual cycle of festivals described in the Scriptures. It is an astounding plan offering an incredible future to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. This booklet will help you understand the incredible truth about what lies ahead for all humanity.


The Rest of the Story

Many believing Christians celebrate Easter as a way to honour Jesus Christ's resurrection. But Easter is a day with very different roots—stretching long ago into pre-Christian paganism. The Bible alone has the truth of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, and it shows a different set of celebrations—the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread—that give us the real story that Easter doesn't tell us.

About the Author

Roger Waite

Beyond Today Magazine

  • The Global Impact of the U.S Election

    The Global Impact of the U.S Election

    The Global Impact of the U.S. Election

    by Darris McNeely
    Nations don’t die all at once. Various factors contribute over time—cultural shifts, economic challenges, political instability, external pressures. We are witnessing the decline of a great pow-er, America, long blessed by God as an exceptional nation and model for others. People around the world are watching this year’s election. They know it will impact their future.

    The Last Best Hope of Earth

    by Tom Robinson
    As the United States celebrates its national birthday and gears up for a rancorous political election season, many lament how far the nation has fallen from its early aspirations and fear its soon-coming demise—of losing what Abraham Lincoln called “the last best hope of earth.” But America was never that. The true last best hope is yet ahead.

    On the Edge of Great Change: Where to Turn?

    by Rick Shabi
    Is it too late for America? Has it grown too polarized to ever unite again? Has its downward spiral into depravity so corrupted the populace that it cannot return to the basic principles of family and morality underpinning every successful nation?