Catholics and other Christians around the world are today celebrating Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday signifies the first day of the holy period of Lent - the period of 40 days that lead up to Easter.
Traditionally, the observation of Lent involves fasting and abstaining from eating meat on certain days. Importantly, meat is not to be eaten on Ash Wednesday or any Friday during Lent. Ash Wednesday is also a day when Catholics are expected to fast - which is defined as "eating one small meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal".
Catholics over the age of 14 are expected to participate in the fasting and abstinence traditions of Lent, and some people may choose to abstain from other luxuries like chocolate, coffee, or alcohol during this time.
Many Catholics attend Mass on Ash Wednesday and are marked with an ashen cross on their forehead as a reminder of mortality.
What can I eat on Ash Wednesday?
For Catholics, "meat" refers only to animals that live on land. This means that on holy days like Ash Wednesday or Fridays during Lent, it is perfectly fine to eat fish and other seafood. If you're abstaining from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, you can still enjoy delicious seafood dishes and vegetarian recipes.