Friday Fish Fry Day is celebrated on the first Friday of Lent every year and takes place onFebruary 16 this year. It’s a day celebrated primarily in the Midwest, but anyone in the United States can celebrate this all-American tradition as they please. Friday Fish Fry Day is a time for friends and families to gather in their favorite restaurants, whether fast food joints or pubs, to enjoy their favorite piece of fried fish over a couple of rounds of beer. It’s a day for bonding over sumptuous food and good conversations and a great opportunity to support your local fishing community and food establishments.
History of Friday Fish Fry Day
Friday Fish Fry Day didn’t start as an American cultural tradition as you may think. Consuming fish at the start of Lent originated in the Biblical times of 30 A.D., when Jesus Christ started fasting and abstaining from consuming warm-blooded animals. He only ate fish, a cold-blooded animal, leading up to his crucifixion. Abstaining from eating warm-blooded flesh is a way of honoring Christ for his sacrifice. Apart from becoming a vital tradition of Catholicism, this also later became a driver of the global fishing economy.
The tradition was started by German Catholic settlers who came to Wisconsin in the 19th century. At the time, the Church was strict and only allowed Catholics to consume fish — not just for Lent but every Friday of the year! This was quickly adopted by Wisconsin locals, who started finding creative ways to serve their fish. Fried fish became popular because it was both easy to prepare and delicious.
Other than Lent, Friday fish nights became a cultural tradition in Wisconsin because of beer. Breweries like Blatz, Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz were based in Wisconsin. Not only does fried fish go well with beer, but beer-battered fish fry also became a popular way to coat the fish. In the 1920s, fishing became a rising industry in the state.
The first annual Friday Fish Fry Day took place on February 19, 2021, and was organized by Wisconsin local and fish enthusiast Caleb Westphal.
Friday Fish Fry Day timeline
Jesus Christ abstains from eating warm-blooded animals and only consumes fish before his crucifixion.
German Catholic settlers bring their religion to the U.S. and introduce lent traditions, including Fish Friday.
The popularity of fried fish and beer every Friday causes the fishing industry to rise in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin local and fish enthusiast Caleb Westphal organizes the first annual Friday Fish Fry Day.
Friday Fish Fry Day FAQs
What is the batter of fried fish called?
It’s called fishcake and is made from potatoes, batter, and breadcrumbs.
Can you fry fish in flour?
Yes, you can. Flour adds an extra layer of crispiness to the skin and seals the juices inside the fish.
What’s a good side dish for fried fish?
The most popular side dishes for fried fish include steamed broccoli, coleslaw, hushpuppies, mashed potatoes, and green peas.
Friday Fish Fry Day Activities
Hit the pubs and restaurants
The traditional way to celebrate Friday Fish Fry Day is by visiting your favorite pubs and restaurants with your friends and family. Order your favorite piece of crispy fried fish over a round of local beer. This way, you’re not just supporting the fishing industry but also the local food establishments in your area.
Try out different fried fish recipes
If you’re in the mood to have a relaxing and peaceful Friday Fish Fry Day at home, then trying out different fried fish recipes might be for you. There are various batters and seasonings you can choose from to cook your fish. Switch up your sides too, whether mashed potatoes, peas, rice, or corn — the choice is yours!
Donate to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
You can participate in the donation drive for Feeding America simply by voting for your favorite fish. Visit their website and make this day a philanthropic one.
5 Facts About Fried Fish That You Didn’t Know
Fried fish is not a healthy option
Fried fish is not for regular consumption because it contains at least 500 calories.
McDonald’s Fillet-O-Fish originated in Ohio
The popular Fillet-O-Fish from Mcdonald’s was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a Lenten special.
Cod is the most popular option
The Alaskan cod is often used for fried fish because it can withstand high frying temperatures.
Americans eat a lot of fish
On average, each American eats 16 pounds of fish annually.
The biggest producer
While Friday Fish Fry Day originated in Wisconsin, Alaska is still the biggest player in fish production in the U.S.
Why We Love Friday Fish Fry Day
We love fish
There’s no better reason to celebrate Friday Fish Fry Day than simply loving fish. Fried fish is crispy, delicious, and sumptuous. Having a holiday dedicated to this dish is the cherry on top of a tasty meal.
It’s easy to prepare
Fried fish is easy to prepare and cook. Just dip it in your batter and fry. It’s ideal for a quick homemade meal when you have limited time to prepare a delicious Friday night dinner for your family.
We love our local fishers
Friday Fish Fry Day does not just highlight the fish itself but also the fishermen who work hard every day to catch them. It’s a great way to support the local fishing industry and boost the local economy as a whole.
Friday Fish Fry Day dates