Meat-free days or veggiedays are declared to discourage or prohibit the consumption of meat on certain days of the week. Mondays and Fridays are the most popular days. There are also movements encouraging people giving up meat on a weekly, monthly, or permanent basis.[citation needed]


Further information: Friday Fast

Abstention from meat, other than fish, was historically done for religious reasons (e.g. the Friday Fast). In the Methodist Church, on Fridays, especially those of Lent, "abstinence from meat one day a week is a universal act of penitence".[1][2] Anglicans (Episcopalians) and Roman Catholics also traditionally observe Friday as a meat-free day.[3][4] Historically, Anglican and Catholic countries enforced prohibitions on eating meat, other than fish, on certain days of Lent. In England, for example, "butchers and victuallers were bound by heavy recognizances not to slaughter or sell meat on the weekly 'fish days', Friday and Saturday."[5] In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Wednesdays and Fridays are meat-free days.[6] In the Lutheran Church, Fridays and Saturdays are historically considered meat-free days.[7] In addition to the Fridays of the year, in Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday—the first day of the repentance themed season of Lent—is a traditional day of fasting and abstinence from meat.[8][9]

Among East Asian Buddhists, vegetarian Buddhist cuisine was eaten on days tied to the phases of the moon known as Uposatha.[citation needed]

Meat-free days have also been observed due to wartime rationing (e.g. Meatless Tuesdays in Canada[10] and the United States—which also observed Wheatless Wednesdays—during World War I)[11][12] or in states with failing economies.[citation needed]

In the People's Republic of Poland, meat-free days were encouraged by the government due to market forces. They were aimed at limiting meat consumption, primarily in favour of flour-based foods. The meat-free day was traditionally Friday, Monday or Wednesday.[citation needed]

Ecology and society

Attempts to reintroduce meat-free days are part of a campaign to reduce anthropogenic climate change and improve human health and animal welfare by reducing factory farming and promoting vegetarianism or veganism.


South Africa


Hong Kong










North America

United States

See also


  1. ^ McKnight, Scot (2010). Fasting: The Ancient Practices. Thomas Nelson. p. 88. ISBN 9781418576134. John Wesley, in his Journal, wrote on Friday, August 17, 1739, that "many of our society met, as we had appointed, at one in the afternoon and agreed that all members of our society should obey the Church to which we belong by observing 'all Fridays in the year' as 'days of fasting and abstinence.'
  2. ^ "What does The United Methodist Church say about fasting?". The United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  3. ^ Buchanan, Colin (4 August 2009). The A to Z of Anglicanism. Scarecrow Press. p. 182. ISBN 9780810870086. In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, there is a list of "Days of Fasting, or Abstinence," consisting of the 40 days of Lent, the ember days, the three rogation days (the Monday to Wednesday following the Sunday after Ascension Day), and all Fridays in the year (except Christmas, if it falls on a Friday).
  4. ^ Green, Jennifer (25 May 2006). Dealing with Death: A Handbook of Practices, Procedures and Law. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. p. 224. ISBN 9781846425127. Retrieved 27 April 2014. Friday is a day of abstinence and self-denial for Catholics in health, and, by tradition, this became a meat-free day.
  5. ^ Barrows, Susanna; Room, Robin (1991). Drinking: Behavior and Belief in Modern History. University of California Press. p. 340. ISBN 9780520070851. Retrieved 27 April 2014. The main legally enforced prohibition in both Catholic and Anglican countries was that against meat. During Lent, the most prominent annual season of fasting in Catholic and Anglican churches, authorities enjoined abstinence from meat and sometimes "white meats" (cheese, milk, and eggs); in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England butchers and victuallers were bound by heavy recognizances not to slaughter or sell meat on the weekly "fish days," Friday and Saturday.
  6. ^ Vitz, Evelyn Birge (1991). A Continual Feast. Ignatius Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780898703849. Retrieved 27 April 2014. In the Orthodox groups, on ordinary Wednesdays and Fridays no meat, olive oil, wine, or fish can be consumed.
  7. ^ Lund, Eric (January 2002). Documents from the History of Lutheranism, 1517–1750. Fortress Press. p. 166. ISBN 9781451407747. Of the Eating of Meat: One should abstain from the eating of meat on Fridays and Saturdays, also in fasts, and this should be observed as an external ordinance at the command of his Imperial Majesty.
  8. ^ Weitzel, Thomas L. (1978). "A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  9. ^ Buchanan, Colin (2015). Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 256. ISBN 9781442250161.
  10. ^ "Making Do with Less": Rationing in Canada Archived 16 December 2012 at
  11. ^ "History of Meatless Mondays". 16 August 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  12. ^ The Way We Ate: The Year Harry Truman Passed on Pumpkin Pie
  13. ^ "City to launch 'one meat-free day a week' campaign". 27 July 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  14. ^ Pollack, Martin (30 July 2010). "City launches Meat-free Day". City of Cape Town. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  15. ^ "South Africa scores for farm animal welfare, the environment and human health". Compassion in World Farming. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  16. ^ "Meat Free Hong Kong". 27 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  17. ^ "International Meatless Day 2019".
  18. ^ "Vegans urge city folk to go veg on International Meatless Day". The New Indian Express. 23 November 2018.
  19. ^ This law was passed during Ayub's dictatorship, not during Benazir Bhutto's time.Going vegan in Pakistan... Saturday, 12 November 2011
  20. ^ Alter, S. Amritsar to Lahore: A Journey Across the India-Pakistan Border. pp. 107-109
  21. ^ "Veggie Thursday in Singapore". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Taipei Times about Meat free Monday". 19 September 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  23. ^ Traynor, Ian (22 May 2009). "Meat-free revolution to help save the planet". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  24. ^ "Ghent declares every Thursday 'Veggie day'". The Telegraph.
  25. ^ a b "Ghent's Veggiedag goes from strength to strength". Meat Free Mondays. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Weekly 'vegetarian day' for public canteens promised in Germany's Green Party manifesto". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  27. ^ Saul, Heather (30 November 2013). "Norwegian army placed on strict vegetarian diet". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Der grüne "Vegi-Tag" greift um sich". 15 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  29. ^ Lowery, Wesley (12 November 2012). "City Council asks L.A. residents to go "meatless" on Mondays". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Meatless Mondays". LACityClerk Connect. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.