According to tradition, Christians had to obey food restrictions in order to do penance. Meals were governed by alternating ‘fat’ days and ‘lean’ days. On certain days, meat was forbidden and replaced by fish. Fish farming and preserving methods developed to meet the needs of practising Christians.
For a long time, Lent was a particularly strict period of the year, involving sexual abstinence, renunciation of meat and sometimes also of eggs and dairy products. It was a time for prayer and repentance. The practice of Lent is less significant today, but the idea of fasting has remained, both for religious reasons and from a secular perspective.