From alcohol to signs

From alcohol to signs

The pre-Easter Lent of Christians begins on Ash Wednesday after Carnival. Fasting is widely equated with renunciation. But that is by no means all. How about your fasting knowledge?

"Fasting" is defined as abstaining from certain (or even all) foods, drinks and stimulants for a certain period of time. The term itself comes from the Old High German for "to hold fast" in the sense of "to observe". However, fasting is known in many cultures and religions.

Asceticism: Derives from the Greek "to practice" and means practical self-training for philosophical or religious purposes. Central goals are self-control and strengthening of character.

Beer: Like wine, was traditionally considered permissible in monasteries, mainly because of the poor quality of water in the Middle Ages. Abstaining from alcohol is a classic point of Lent for many Christians today.
Christ: Christian fasting was originally based on Jewish tradition (s. Yom Kippur). Lent serves as preparation for Easter and recalls the 40 days Christ spent praying in the desert. In today's everyday life, fasting means doing without certain things, not completely without food.
Diet: the medical variant of fasting. Here it does not concern conscious renunciation of pleasure or reflection, but for example weight loss and non-ingestion of harmful substances. Misguided diets can lead to starvation, malnutrition, etc. lead.
Eucharistic sobriety or "Eucharistic fasting": in the Catholic Church, means abstention from all food and drink (except water and medicines) for a certain period of time before receiving communion. Previously, believers were required to remain sober from midnight beforehand. in 1964 this was shortened to at least one hour.
Meat and fish: Abstinence from meat is a (also very contemporary) classic of fasting. Monasteries were very resourceful in interpreting strict fasting rules "kindly". For example, beavers or waterfowl were declared as (permitted) fish. You can also do without F for television.
Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand ("Mahatma," 1869-1948): One of the most famous ascetics in history. In India's struggle for independence, he repeatedly threatened "fasting unto death" through hunger strikes to achieve political goals, mostly an end to violence.
Cell phone: Abstinence from cell phones as a modern addictive substance can also be commanded or helpful.
Id al-Fitr: Breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan is one of the most important festivals in Islam. It lasts three days and is celebrated lavishly with family or friends.
Yom Kippur: In Judaism, health comes first! Fast often, but no more than 25 hours. There are several fasts; the Esther fast before Purim, the seven days before Passover, the Gedaliah fast, and, the strictest fast day, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
Carnival: Also called "Fastnacht" or, in Cologne dialect, "Fastelovend"; serves to drive out winter, but on Ash Wednesday also leads into the pre-Easter period of Lent (s. also quadragesis). In French, the last day of the festival is called "Mardi Gras" (Fat Tuesday). The strictest fasting day for Christians: Good Friday, the day of Jesus' Passion.
Body hostility: A radical sibling of asceticism, fasting and dieting. This involves deliberate physical exercise, chastisement, and in extreme cases, mortification.
Martin: The saint of sharing, in the 4. Bishop of Tours in the sixteenth century, was a true ascetic. But because his memorial day fell on the payday of the tenantry and the last day before the pre-Christmas Lent, there was extreme feasting once again on St. Martin's Day (s. also quadragesis). Stomach ache and hangover are still called "Martin's pains" in French today.
Sobriety: in the context of fasting, means two things; in the medical sense, "not having eaten breakfast" (s. also eucharistic sobriety), but also "sober" as serious or earnest.
Orthodoxy: In the Orthodox churches, the Eucharistic fast (s. there) from midnight. Twice a week, believers are encouraged to fast, on Wednesday and Friday. Strict fasting is the vegan; except for honey, no animal products may be consumed, moreover, neither oil nor alcohol.
Prophetic or ecstatic fasting: This is about preparing for an encounter with the divine or with God. Fasting serves here for visionary stimulation.
Quadragesis: Latin for "40 days," the duration of fasting between Ash Wednesday and Easter (s. Carnival). Today it is almost forgotten that Advent also used to be part of a 40-day period of penance and fasting ("Martin's Quadragesis"; s. Martin).
Ramadan: The Islamic month of fasting requires devout Muslims to eat neither food nor liquid during the day. This fasting commandment ends only at nightfall, when one can no longer distinguish a white thread from a black one (s. also Id-al-Fitr).
Sex: Sexual abstinence can also be a penitential, fasting, or purity requirement, for example, in preparation for a religious ritual.
Mourning/Death: Ritualized fasting until death exists in Jainism and Hinduism (s. Gandhi). Several times the Old Testament reports of fasting as a sign of mourning – or to emphasize the seriousness of a prayer. Thus King David fasted when one of his sons became deathly ill (2 Sam 12:15ff).
Reversal: Fasting can also be a confession of sin, accompany an individual or collective conversion, and thus become a penitential rite.
Renunciation: has become a modern word. Climate fasting, flight fasting, alcohol fasting, car fasting, cell phone fasting – in the affluent society Ludwig Erhard's appeals to "moderation" are no longer sufficient.
Sausage dinner, Zurich: An exotic in the fasting alphabet. It took place in 1522 in the house of the printer Christoph Froschauer and demonstratively violated the current abstinence requirement in the presence of several clergymen. The reformer Huldrych Zwingli was also present. The eating of sausages played a similar role in the Reformation in Switzerland as the posting of the theses in Wittenberg did in Germany.
Xanthippe: According to tradition, the wife of the Greek philosopher Socrates was characterized above all by bad humor. Once she is said to have trampled on a cake during an outburst of anger. Socrates reacted laconically by saying that now she, too, no longer had a share in the cake.
Yoga: The Indian philosophical doctrine recommends mental and physical exercises – an ideal partner, for example, to offers for nature-oriented fasting. One slogan of many: "Fasting Vacation – Detox with Yoga Escapes!"
Time: "Diet was yesterday, now comes the periodic fasting." Very modern: Intermittent fasting; 8 hours eating, 16 hours fasting – for dietary, not religious reasons. The various world religions know very different periods of fasting (s. above).

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