Bahai News - Fasting -- Who and why of fasting
Fasting -- Who and why of fasting
The when, how and why of fasting for different faiths and
traditions apart from voluntary, individual fasting:
Baha'i: During month of Ala from March 2-20; food and drink
sunrise to sunset; to focus on love of God and spiritual matters.
Buddhism: Usually on full-moon days and other holidays; usually
abstaining from solid food with some liquids permitted; a method of
Catholic: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; two small meals and one
regular meal, with meat forbidden; teaches self-control, penance and
solidarity with the poor.
Eastern Orthodox: Lent, Apostles Fast, Dormition Fast and Nativity
Fast and several one-day fasts, as well as most Wednesdays and
Fridays; no meat, dairy products or eggs, sometimes fish; strengthens
self-control, opens a person to God's grace.
Hindu: Usually on new moon and annual festivals; practices vary -
sometimes 24 hours of complete abstinence from any food or drink but
more often an elimination of solid foods with occasional drink of
milk or water; enhancement of concentration during meditation or
worship, purification or a sacrifice.
Judaism: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Tisha B'Av (commemoration of
destruction of the Jewish Temple) and several other annual days; eating
and drinking forbidden on Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av for 25-hour period
from sunset to sunset, other days eating and drinking forbidden from
sunrise to sunset; atonement for sins and special requests to God.
Mormon: First Sunday of each month; no food or drink for two
consecutive meals and donating food or money to needy; closeness to
and concentration on God, with individual or family fasts held to
petition for a specific cause, such as healing or decision-making.
Muslim: Ramadan, the month when the Quran was first revealed to
Muhammad, as well as other days and periods; no food or drink break
of dawn to sunset each day of the month, no smoking or sexual
intercourse the entire month; Quran commands it.
Pagans: Some fast in preparation for Ostara (spring equinox); at
discretion of individuals - some total abstinence, others reductions
in food; purification, sometimes used in preparation for magical work.
Evangelical Protestants: At discretion of individuals, churches,
organizations or communities; foods abstained from vary; spiritual
nourishment, solidarity with the poor; counterbalance to modern
consumer culture, or petition to God for special needs.
Mainline Protestants: At discretion of individuals, churches, organizations
or communities; foods abstained from vary; for spiritual improvement or to
advance a political of social justice agendas.
©Copyright 2001, Journal Star - Peoria
Page last updated/revised 111501
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