(RNN) - A man wrote a letter to the Archdiocese of New Orleans asking a simple question.
Can I eat alligator during Lent?
Lent is the six week period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. The fasting period is meant to represent the 40 days of wilderness where Jesus Christ fasted, tempted by the devil and overcame all instances of temptation.
The letter from 2010 was posted on Ash Wednesday on the Facebook page of Insta-Gator Ranch, of Covington, LA. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond responded to Jim Piculas of the Insta-Gator Ranch assuring him alligator could be eaten on Fridays during Lent.
"Yes, the alligator is considered in the fish family and I agree with you," said the Archdiocese in the response. "God has created a magnificent creature that is important to the state of Louisiana and it is considered seafood."
If you know anyone that can gator hunt, now would be a good time to go and get dinner.
Since the inception of Christianity and the observation of Lent, cultures have treated what and how to fast differently.
In the Middle Ages, some cultures abstained from everything except bread, while other cultures would allow fish and fowl. Most abstinence laws omit poultry, considering it meat because it lives on land.
There is no universal diet for Lent - it all boils down to exerting self-control.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, no meat of land living animals - chickens, cows, sheep or pigs - are to be eaten during Lent. Broths, soups flavored with the by-products of animals, consomme or gravies are technically permissible. Eggs, butter cheese and gelatin are fair game.
On Fridays, most Christians eat fish to help restore nutrients lost in the fasting of the meat omitted from their diet.
"On the Fridays of Lent, we remember the sacrifice of Christ on Good Friday and unite ourselves with that sacrifice through abstinence and prayer," according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
This Lent season, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is responding to inquiries on his Twitter page, assuring those who wish to eat the reptile while observing Lent can do so accordingly.
"Fish are a different category of animal," said the Bishops website. "Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted."
In other words - lobster, scallops, clams, crayfish, oysters are all good - and alligator.
The Bishops website warns, however, overindulging at your local seafood buffet defeats the purpose of Lent.
Everything in moderation.
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