Meat, nothing and sex: What J'cans are giving up for Lent

Meat, nothing and sex: What J'cans are giving up for Lent

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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While many Jamaicans still engage in the tradition of abstinence for the Lenten season — which this year runs from today to Thursday, April 9 — some are adamant that they have no intention of giving up the luxuries they enjoy.

Yesterday, the Jamaica Observer questioned fish vendors in Rae Town and New Forum Fishing Village, as well as some of their customers, on the matter and received some interesting responses.

“I'm giving up meat for Lent, because during Lent you're not supposed to eat meat. You should eat fish and vegetables,” Rae Town fish vendor Juliet Thompson insisted. Thompson, who said she has been in the business for more than 20 years, was frying fish for a customer, who gave his name as Dennis, when she spoke with the Observer. According to Thompson, she observes the ritual each year.

Her commitment though, was not shared by Dennis, who said he had nothing to give up as he is “not doing anything bad”. Displaying a broad smile, Dennis pointed to the fish being fried, saying that he was taking one home for his wife as the first of his treats to celebrate her birthday. The others in the pot, he said, were for his son.

Well-known Rae Town fish vendor Nambu “Ratty” Thompson, who gained national attention as the first man in the business in that fishing village to accept debit cards, said he had no plans to give up anything for Lent.

“Mi nah give up nutten. Mi waan jus' give more love and spread more love,” said Thompson.

Cathy, a restaurant operator at New Forum Fishing Village on Fort Augusta Drive, Portmore, was at first hesitant to speak, claiming shyness. However, she eventually said that while she is a bit of a traditionalist, she would not be giving anything up for the period.

Fish vendor Wiggy had a similar view, even though he was more interested in directing the Observer to his friend Cynthia who, while displaying a “hog snapper”, said she was giving up meat for the season.

A customer who gave her name only as Angela said she, too, was giving up meat for Lent.

“This the first [time] I'm gonna do it, so I'm going to try to maintain it. That's why I'm here. I want 10 pounds of fish because I want to stock up so I won't have any reason to come back soon,” she said, adding that she had also bought fish earlier in the week.

Another customer, who identified herself as Annie, said while she does not observe the abstinence practice every year, she will be doing so this year, and as such won't be eating any meat for the season. She, too, was purchasing more fish to add to the eight pounds she already had in her refrigerator at home.

Her friend, who has a similar name, generated laughter when she said she was giving up sex “because it hurts during Lent”.

However, after the laughter subsided, she explained that she does not eat red meat.

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