Fish-O- Filet Season Has Sprung
Every March, the Catholic observance of Lent – a religious holiday that spans the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday – sees devout followers “give up” things that they normally enjoy. While modern Catholics may “give up” the likes of Facebook posting, sweets or swearing, nearly all “give up” eating meat on Fridays.
The tradition reflects the fact that in the Catholic faith Jesus was crucified on a Friday; that in centuries past, meat was both a symbol of celebration and opulence; and that abstaining from indulgences is a show of penance.
For McDonald’s, this month plus of self-discipline by the faithful translates into huge sales of the fast food chain’s most prominent fish dish, the Filet-O- Fish. With meat off the menu for many on Fridays, they turn to this staple seafood sandwich in droves. In fact, a quarter of all the Filet-O- Fish sandwiches sold by McDonald’s each year, are sold during the Lenten season. For this brief season of spirituality, the Filet-O- Fish becomes the most popular item on the menu.
This trend has remained consistent for the past 50 years, ever since the sandwich was created in 1966 by a Cincinnati, Ohio franchise owner who noticed dipping sales on Fridays during Lent.