Fasting is mentioned in the Bible as well as in the Mahabhatara (Hindu Holy Book). InJudaism, fasting is observed in several annual days, primarily on days of penitence (such asYom Kippur, the Day of Atonement) or mourning and Tisha B’Av (the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av).
In Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, they used to observe a 40-day fast during Lent, a spring period of penitence before Easter, and during Advent, a penitential period before Christmas. Among Roman Catholics the observance has been modified with mandatory fasting only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday during Lent. Protestant churches generally leave the decision to fast to individual church members.
In Hinduism fasting is commonly practiced on New Moon days and during festivals such asShivaratri, Saraswati Puja, and Durga Puja (also known as Navaratri). Married Hindu and Sikh Women fast from sunrise to moonrise on the day of Karva Chauth for the safety and longevity of their husbands.