Fasting is of all times and all religions

Fasting is not necessarily more one religion than another. Fasting has always been there and it belongs to everyone. After some digital research you soon find out that just about every spiritual direction has some form of fasting or abstinence. Fasting appears to be an ancient, universal tradition.

Fasting is an ancient tradition in a variety of religions. Fasting is also done for religious reasons as well as for health reasons. A well-known example of fasting that Christianity still refers to and acts on today is Jesus being trapped in the desert for 40 days and nights. To this day, Lent is a time when you can draw closer to God. After all, Jesus did.

Known precursors of the Lent period from earlier times

Hippocrates (c. 400 BC)

Plato (c. 400 BC)

Pythagoras (c. 500 BC)

These sages fasted regularly to maintain their mental acuity, it is said.


Christianity is just one example of a religion that has an (annual) fasting period on the calendar. There are many more religions that fast for a certain period of time. For example, consider Ramadan. Ramadan, just like the fasting period of Christians, falls differently every year. This is because the month of Ramadan is determined by a new moon. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is not the same as the Gregorian calendar we are used to using before our era.

Fasting habits in Islam

Believers should not eat during the day, between the actual sunrise and sunset,

drinking, slandering, smoking and having sexual intercourse.

During the nights of Ramadan, 2 to 3 meals are served.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day Sugar Feast.

During the Sugar Fest a lot of sweets are eaten, such as baklava, and for that reason

This party is called the Sugar Fest in the Netherlands. It comes from the Turkish 'şeker bayramı'.


Other religions and cultures that have a fasting period

Alevi Turks† Alevi Turks do not participate in Ramadan, but fast for twelve days in the month of Muharrem, because they believe in the so-called twelve Imams. Eleven of them have been killed, the twelfth has been resurrected. They fast to commemorate these twelve Imams.

Judaism. In Jewish tradition, fasting is 6 days a year.

Bahá'í Faith. The fasting period for the Bahá'ís is the last nineteen-day period (March 2 – 21) before the start of the new year on the spring day (Naw-Rúz). Fasting means not eating, drinking or smoking from sunrise to sunset.

The above are just a few examples of religions and denominations that have a period of fasting in order to get closer to their god. But fasting is not just based on religion. They also fast for health reasons. More about that in a future article. Source:



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