Meat-free days are declared to discourage or prohibit the consumption of meat on certain days of the week. Mondays and Thursdays are the most popular days. There are also movements encouraging people giving up meat on a weekly, monthly, or permanent basis.
Abstention from meat was historically done for religious reasons (e.g. the Friday Fast). In the Methodist Church, during Lent "abstinence from meat one day a week is a universal act of penitence". Anglicans (Episcopalians) and Roman Catholics also traditionally observe Friday as a meat-free day. Historically, Anglican and Catholic countries enforced prohibitions on eating meat 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." In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Wednesdays and Fridays are meat-free days. In the Lutheran Church, Fridays and Saturdays are historically considered meat-free days.
Meat-free days have also been observed due to wartime rationing (e.g. Meatless Tuesdays in Canada and the United States—which also observed Wheatless Wednesdays—during World War I) or in states with failing economies.
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.
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.
- Daily "Meat Free Hong Kong Meetup" 
- During the federal elections in 2013, the German green party Bündnis '90/Die Grünen campaigned with a so-called “veggie day” in their manifesto, which resulted in public outburst over “paternalism”
- Los Angeles has declared all Mondays "Meatless Mondays," citing actions by the
- Baltimore public-school system, the Oakland, California Unified School District and school districts in
- Arlington, Virginia,
- Oneida, New York and
- Longmont, Colorado; the cities of
- San Francisco, Takoma Park and
- Annapolis, Maryland,
- Marin County, California and the
- District of Columbia Council.
- Awareness day
- Friday Fast
- List of food days
- List of food weeks
- List of food months
- Meatless Monday
- List of vegetarian festivals
- Vegetarian week
- World Vegan Day
- World Vegetarian Day
- "What does The United Methodist Church say about fasting?". The United Methodist Church. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Making Do with Less": Rationing in Canada
- "History of Meatless Mondays | The History Kitchen | PBS Food". Pbs.org. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- The Way We Ate: The Year Harry Truman Passed on Pumpkin Pie
- "City to launch 'one meat-free day a week' campaign". 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Pollack, Martin (2010-07-30). "City launches Meat-free Day". City of Cape Town. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "South Africa scores for farm animal welfare, the environment and human health". Compassion in World Farming. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "Meat Free Hong Kong". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Veggie Thursday in Singapore". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Taipei Times about Meat free Monday". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Traynor, Ian (2009-05-22). "Meat-free revolution to help save the planet". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "Ghent declares every Thursday 'Veggie day'". The Telegraph.
- "Ghent's Veggiedag goes from strength to strength". Meat Free Mondays. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "Weekly 'vegetarian day' for public canteens promised in Germany's Green Party manifesto". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- Smith, Jennifer (2013-11-20). "Norwegian army goes vegetarian as it goes to war against climate change by cutting 'ecologically unfriendly' foods". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
- Saul, Heather (2013-11-30). "Norwegian army placed on strict vegetarian diet". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
- "Der grüne "Vegi-Tag" greift um sich". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Lowery, Wesley (2012-11-12). "City Council asks L.A. residents to go "meatless" on Mondays". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- "Meatless Mondays". LACityClerk Connect. 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2012-11-12.