15 June 2009

Meat-free Monday?

I've seen two stories on the same day about people calling for a meat-free day each week.

Day of the lentil burghers: Ghent goes veggie - The Guardian:
Ghent embarks on a radical experiment today seeking to make every Thursday a day free of meat and of the fish and shellfish for which the city is renowned. On the eve of what is being touted as an unprecedented exercise the biggest queue in the Flemish university town of 200 000 yesterday was for signatures – to collect a bag of wholefood goodies and sign up for 'Donderdag – Veggie Dag' turning the burghers of Ghent into pioneers in the fight against obesity global warming cruelty to animals and against the myth that meat-free eating amounts to a diet of soggy lettuce a slice of tomato and a foul-tasting bean burger.

And then this from Britain: Support Meat Free Monday – Eat less meat for a better planet:
It's a food campaign to encourage the nation to help slow climate change by reducing their meat consumption by having at least one meat free day a week.

Having a MEAT FREE day every week is a simple way to start making a real difference in the world. The more people who join in, the more difference we can make.

What I find curious about this is the days on which it is suggested that this fast should take place -- Monday and Thursday.

Traditionally, Christians have fasted from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, and though many no longer observe this fast, some do, and since Belgium was, in the past, a country with a majority Roman Catholic population, why not encourage people to begin that practice again?

Perhaps it is to avoid embarrassment to atheists, who might not want to abstain from meat on Wednesdays or Fridays and thus give the impression that they are Christians. In Albania, when it was officially an atheist country, teachers would interrogate children at school to find what they had or hadn't been eating at home, especially during the Christian fast of Lent and the Muslim fast of Ramadan. They would also ask children if they had been eating lots of eggs during the Easter season. If there was evidence fo feasting or fasting, a visit from the police was sure to follow.

But if fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays would cause embarrassment to atheists, why not encourage people to fast on a day of their choice? Or is the aim to get Christians who are already abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays to add another day?

I've been to a number of conferences and gatherings where Halaal and Kosher food are provided, but it is rare for find Orthodox Christian fasting food on such occasions. Perhaps if Wednesday or Friday were adopted as the meat-free day it might make such things a little easier.


jams o donnell said...

An excellent idea but then again the only meat eaters in our house are the cats!

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

we Christ-followers are not great at personal spiritual disciplines - and the Muslims often put us to shame with the observance of the disciplines of fasting and prayer.

Yewtree said...

@ Rock in the Grass: that may be true of many Christians but the same cannot be said of the Orthodox. I am not one of them, but I bow before their superior powers of fasting!

Maybe Orthodox practitioners should raise awareness by ticking the special dietary needs box in the event booking form? (Not that I got very far with that when I tried to arrange for my candida diet requirements to be catered for.)

Unknown said...

Hi my name is Riaz and I am a Muslim. i happened to have to recieve your blog site via SAFCEI. i also beleive that you maybe intrested in the opinion of fasting during the week of other religions. as a Muslim we have been encouraged by Our Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H)he used to fast every Monday and Thursday. the fast of a Muslim is abstianance from food altogether from before sunrise to sunset. there have been many benefits mentioned for this practise. I can share a personal incident, my Granny is 85 years old and she has the habit of fasting every Mondays and Thursdays, even today. her health is excellent and she is very fit. she comfortably walks about 1 km daily to and fro from my home to the nearest shopping mall. however, we can discuss many more benefits. i know that in the discourses mentioned in the teachings of Islam we also have taught that the best fast is the fasting of the Prophet David. he fasted one day and the next day he did not, this is very beloved to the Creator.

Thank you



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