Fasting is an age-old practice of abstaining from some kind of food or drinks for a period of time, especially done for spiritual, religious and health reasons. We fast for a predetermined length of time to accomplish a spiritual purpose.
Fasting is part of a religious ritual and is popular among many religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Hinduism and so on.
Fasting can be done in many ways, a complete fast means refraining from all the food and water for a specific period of time. There are fast where you can consume water. While in various other fast you can consume certain food and water.
Fasting is not the same thing as dieting, which is done when you are trying to lose weight, you stop eating the things you want to eat. So dieting is hard while fasting is wonderfully easy without eating, so you can seek God’s presence.
In Christianity fasting is done to seek closer intimacy with God. Some Western Christians observe the Lenten fast and they also fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
In Buddhism, there are some periods of fasting usually on full-moon days and other holidays.
In Jainism fasting is according to certain prescribed rules and practicing a certain type of meditation leads to trances, that enable an individual to dissociate themselves from the world and reach a transcendent state.
For Jews Yom Kippur, the day at Atonement is the best-known fast day. The Jewish calendar has six other fast days.
Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, it is considered as a mandatory fasting period. Various Muslim customs recommend other days and period of fasting in addition to Ramadan.
In Hinduism, some people fast on a particular day of the week considered scared to their chosen deity. Monday is sacred to Lord Shiva, Tuesday is for Lord Hanuman and Ganesh, Wednesday is for Lord Budh, Thursday for Lord Vishnu, Friday is for Goddess Lakshmi and Maa Santishi, Saturday is for Lord Shani while Sunday is for Lord Surya.
Motives for undertaking a fast are varied, some do it to increase self-control, others to propitiate a deity. Women fast to bring religious merit and God’s blessing to their family.
In Hinduism, fasting doesn’t mean going without food altogether, Fasting food includes milk, yogurt, fruits and certain root vegetables, dates and sago. But rice, wheat, millet, pulses, onion, and garlic are excluded. In spite of there being many permissible foods, many people allow themselves only water to drink between sunrise and sunset and break there fast after the moonrise.