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Published on the 15th March 2016

Religious Fasting

Reading Time: 3 min read

Religious Fasting

Whether it’s abstaining from food and drink or giving up a habit, all religions have some type of fasting, which is required from its devotees during specific times of the year. Here’s a look at some of the different types of religious fasting.

Yom Kippur

Observant Jews are required to fast for six days a year, and this includes abstaining from both food and water. One of the days of fasting takes place during Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar. During Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, Jews fast for 25-hours, starting from sunset the day before Yom Kippur up until nightfall on the Day of Atonement itself. Since this 25 hour fast is quite intense women who are pregnant and children under the age of 9 aren’t allowed to fast, even if they want to, to prevent any health issues which could see them reaching for their health insurance.


Every year Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan for a period lasting from 28 days up to 30 days. Similar to Yom Kippur, Muslims aren’t allowed to eat nor drink during the hours the sun is up. All healthy Muslims over the age of puberty are required to fast unless they have a health condition. Interestingly many of those who are exempt from fasting, including those who are pregnant, breast feeding or have a serious illness, still choose to fast. Hopefully many of them have health insurance in place to make sure that they’re protected in case an issue arises during their fasting period.


Right before tucking into all those Figolli and Easter Eggs to celebrate Easter, many Christians go through a 40-day fasting period. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. During this 40-day fasting period – 46 if you include the Sundays- Christians tend to give up a habit, like quitting smoking (which would definitely help your health insurance) or something they love eating, like sweets. Strict Christians also choose to not eat meat on Fridays and some choose to not and fast fully on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Consider your health during fasting

Whether for religious reasons or other reasons, fasting is a hazard to your health. Although religious fasting is a good way to show your devotion it is also important to keep in mind that most religions believe that you shouldn’t fast if you are vulnerable or have poor health.