6 religions other than Islam that require fasting

Religions have more similarities than differences


Life&Style June 16, 2016
PHOTO: CHIANGRAITIMES.COM

While the month of Ramazan is known around the world to Muslims and non-Muslims alike as the month of fasting, there are several other religions that practice fasting as well on various religious occasions.

Here are six religions -- other than Islam -- that require their followers to fast.

How many hours will you be fasting this year?

1. Jews

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the best known fast day. The Jewish calendar has six other fast days as well, including Tish B'Av -- the day on which the destruction of the Jewish temple took place.

PHOTO: LELAND BOBBE/CORBIS

2. Buddhists

All the main sects of Buddhists practice some periods of fasting, usually on full-moon days and other holidays.

Monks Chanting at Wat Pah Nanachat. PHOTO: BUDDHISTTEACHINGS.ORG

3. Catholics

Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. They also abstain from meat on all Fridays in Lent.

Parishioner Jennifer has ash smudged on her forehead by a Reverand on Ash Wednesday. PHOTO: BANGORDAILYNNEWS/JOHN CLARKE RUSS

4. Hindus

Fasting is commonly practiced on new moon days and during festivals such as Shivarati, Saraswati and Puja.

PHOTO: TELUGONE.COM

5. Mormons

Members of the Latter Day Saint movement, Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month.

PHOTO: LDSSMILE.COM

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6. Baha'is

The Baha'i fast takes place during Ala -- the 19th month of the Baha'i year, from March 2 to 20.

The Shrine of Baha’u’llah in Bahji, is the most holy site in the world for Baha’is. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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COMMENTS (16)

kahnakacha | 5 years ago | Reply @PrasadDeccani: Good questions. Fasting is practices in many religions. All faiths do it differently, but end of the day, main purpose of spiritual cleansing, and secondary purpose is physical cleansing. And like other faiths, some people observe religious rituals in the way they were intended to be, while other do it as a burden or as a cultural and/or religious obligation. Personally, I only eat regular amount of food when I break fast, and these days nights are so short, that at dawn, I am hungry enough to eat a full meal again, so I just hydrate and eat a small snack. So I am reduced from 3 meals and couple of snacks, to one meal and one snack during Ramazan. I know a lot of people who do the same. Most people in my circle either maintain their weight or loose some. I have always lost some weight during Ramazan. Not everyone stays up all night. People like me, who have regular day time jobs, go to sleep after breaking fast and offering prayers. We get up early at dawn, to eat (snack or a full meal) and offer dawn (Pre sunrise) prayers. Depending on when their job starts, some people will stay up to go to work, while others go back to sleep. Muslim fast begins at crack of Dawn (Which is before sunrise), so people get up to have a snack/meal before starting their fast, and also to offer dawn prayers. Fast ends at sunset. In some Muslim countries, especially in Middle east where days are really hot in summers, markets stay open all night for people to shop and go out when it is not too hot. Many markets stay open all year long, but in Ramazan more shops stay open than usual, because people tend to stay inside more than usual in Ramazan (remember no drinking water when fasting). So staying up late or till dawn is more of a regional practice in some countries, due to extreme weather conditions. It is not a religious practice or obligation. And swallowing normal amount saliva is not a problem when fasting. Its natural. There are some restrictions involved with saliva, but they address special or extreme circumstances, and I wont go in that much detail. As for prices going up, it happens in corrupt countries (Pakistan included), where some shop owners try to take advantage of people. Doesn't happen in all Islamic majority countries. Most households will try to make sure their pantries are up to date, and they have all the ingredients they need in this month. There are many ingredients or spices that we use in small quantities, and don't care if they run out. But in this month people will make sure every thing is updated. It is a cultural/physiological thing. And corrupt shop owners jack up prices for certain ingredients. I hope this answers your questions.
Shakir Lakhani | 5 years ago | Reply @DG: Ramazan is not always in summer. The lunar year is 354 days, so Ramazan happens in all months, not only in June. Six years from today it will be in April, and so on.
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