This is the month of Ramadan where all Muslims from around the world are fasting. But do you know that fasting is also practised by other religions as well?
Take a look at other religions that do their fasting apart from the Muslims.
First, let’s begin with the most commonly known fasting by the Muslims. Teachings of Islam require the believers to abstain from all fluids and food between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan. They will also not smoke. Other than that, Muslims are also abstaining from sexual relations and sinful speech and behaviour.
In addition, Muslims who have reached puberty and thereafter fast to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam.
Next, the law of fasting requires a Catholic aged 14 and older to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day. Two smaller meals if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity is also accepted.
Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is usually broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food.
For the Christians, fasting is to seek a closer intimacy with God, as well as an act of petition.
Now, Judaism is one of the Abrahamic religions such as Islam and Christianity. Traditional fasting begins during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Jews who have had coming of age ceremony (Bar and Bat Mitzvah) will commence their 25-hour fast until nightfall on Saturday. All forms of sustenance are prohibited, including water.
In English, Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement.” In other words, fasting is a vehicle for reflecting and repenting for sins.
Meanwhile, the Hindus fast on different days of the week to worship different gods and goddesses. On the other hand, Ekadasi fasting is common to all the Hindus. Ekadasi means 11th day. It comes twice a month: 11th day from the new moon and 11th day from the full moon. They fast themselves till moon rises. Thus, they only eat after seeing the crescent moon.
Generally, all spiritual practitioners seek to intensify their devotional service and come closer to Krishna.
Last but not least, Buddhist monks and nuns are expected to abstain from food from noon to sunrise the next day. However, fruit juices and other liquids are allowed when needed, excluding milk. Normally, lay Buddhists keeping the uposatha (new and full moon days) will also abstain from food from noon to sunrise the next day.
In Buddhism, fasting is recognized as one of the methods for practising self-control. They fast to purify their bodies and to clarify their thoughts.