The act of willingly abstaining from
some or all food, drink, or both, for a
period of time.
An absolute fast is normally defined as
abstinence from all food and liquid for
a defined period, usually a single day
(24 hours), or several daytime period.
Other fasts may be partial
in scope of food and drink,
such as restricting only
The fast may also be intermittent,
spanning an irregular set of days.
may preclude sexual
and other activities
as well as food.
In the Bahá'í Faith, fasting is observed from sunrise
to sunset during the Bahá'í month of Ala' (March 2-
It is the complete abstaining from both food and
drink (including abstaining from smoking).
It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of
spiritual recuperation, during which the believer
must strive to make the necessary readjustments in
his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the
spiritual forces latent in his soul.
Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder
of abstinence from selfish and carnal
Monks and nuns following the
Vinaya rules commonly do not
eat each day after the noon
meal. This is not considered a
fast but rather a disciplined
regimen aiding in meditation and
In essence, it means afflict the soul through
abstaining from fulfilling the needs or wants
of the flesh.
The Lenten fast observed in the Catholic Church and the
Eastern Orthodox Church is a forty-day partial fast to
commemorate the fast observed by Christ during his
temptation in the desert.
Moses fasted for forty
days and forty nights,
without food or water;
the first, immediately
before he received the
tablets on the mountain
with God. And the
second, after coming
down, seeing the
idolatry, and breaking
the tablets in anger.
The prophet Joel
called for a fast
to avert the
judgment of God.
Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights while in the
desert, being tempted by Satan to turn stones into
bread and eat them, among other temptations.
Fasting during these times includes abstention
- animal products, all dairy products, and—with the
exception of some specific days—fish,
-oil (interpreted variously as abstention from olive
oil only, or as abstention from all cooking oils in
-red wine (which is often interpreted as including
all wine or alcoholic beverages)
-sexuality (where fasting is pre-communion)
Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek-Catholicism
Oriental Orthodox Churches
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
A prominent figure associated with
"spiritual fast" was labor leader and
activist, Cesar Chavez. A spiritual fast is
a particular fast that incorporates
personal spiritual beliefs with the desire
to express personal principles.
This form of fasting is different from a hunger strike in that it is not
participated in to achieve a certain political goal.
A spiritual fast is aimed at
expressing a personal belief and is
commonly used in the context of
a social injustice.[
Cesar Chavez fasted a legendary twenty five days,
for his sins and the sins of his supporters.
On promoting the principle of nonviolence.
Gandhi’s fasts and emphasis of nonviolence