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December 16, 2016

Now you may ask me…  “Akis, why do you always talk about fasting over the holidays?”  Well…. let me tell you!

According to religion, the periods of fasting are always very specific. Through this small diary I want to make you aware of a few important things about fasting and about when and how it should be done.

The word “fast” means abstinence from any food. It later morphed into the type of fasting we know today… fasting from only certain types of food.

So foods and ingredients are divided into 2 sections… fit for fasting and not fit for fasting. Apart from meat, fish etc… any foods cooked with butter, oil and wine are also not fit for fasting.

Let’s take a look at the days fasting is supposed to take place on throughout the whole year.

Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday because it was the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it was the day Christ was nailed to the cross. On these two days, one should not even consume olive oil.

Generally, it is also important to keep in mind that if one of these two days of fasting happens to fall on the same day as a Saint’s holiday then you can consume olive oil. If it happens to be on the day that the Virgin Mary is honored, then you can even eat fish…

You can eat anything you like during the other days of the week all year round, apart from fasting periods. Fasting is never done on Sunday and it is only on Holy Saturday where olive oil should not be consumed.

The longest fasting periods are 4 in number:

  • Lent… that lasts for 5 weeks (over 40 days) and begins on Clean Monday and ends on the evening of Holy Saturday. It is the strictest fast of the year.
  • The Assumption of Mary… in honor of the Virgin Mary that begins on the 1st of August and ends on the 14th of August. It is quite a strict fast where you can consume fish only on the 6th of August (Transfiguration).
  • Christmas…It begins on the 15th of December and ends on the 24th of December. Fish can be consumed at all times apart from Wednesday and Friday, until the 12th of December. After the 12th, the fast becomes more strict.
  • Fast of the Holy Apostles. It begins on All Saint’s Sunday and ends on the 28th of June.

There are of course other days where people fast that are scattered in between these fasts throughout the year but I won’t touch on those in this diary.

I wrote this article because a few days ago I shared a recipe fit for fasting with fish and some of you almost killed me!

I think that we should all remember and keep in mind that apart from health factors in which fasting really helps, fasting is an esoteric subject that each person deals with in their own personal way and has their own view, opinions and beliefs. But as a rule it is not enough for someone to abstain from meat or fish. The real meaning of fasting is to do no harm… it is to remove rage or anger from your heart. It is important to cleanse our soul as well as our body.

I have quite a wide selection of recipes on my website which you can find here

Let me share some of my favorite recipes for fasting with you! 

Tahini Honey Chocolat Nut Cereal Bars

Tofu and Spinach Canneloni 

Spicy Crab Pasta


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