[lit-ideas] Re: Ask the Ayatollah

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 00:42:29 -0400

> [Original Message]
> From: Steve Chilson <stevechilson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 10/6/2006 11:26:47 PM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ask the Ayatollah
> Why don't Christians fast?

Christians do fast.  Some Christians do, anyway.  Russian Orthodox
Christians (me, once upon a time) fast in the weeks leading up to Easter. 
I don't remember exactly anymore (been an atheist since about 19 and my
family of origin is nearly gone) but Easter is a real big deal in the
Russian Orthodox Church Overseas (that's the name of it, an offshoot of the
one in the SU that was banned, for the diaspora; it's got its own
Metropolitan outside of Russia, but it's exactly the same religion).  The
fast is rather strict if done correctly, no meat, no fish, no chicken, no
dairy (I believe) for about six weeks.  Needless to say most people don't
adhere to it, at least we didn't.  The week before Easter everyone cooks
and cleans furiously.   The cooking is at feast levels.  Holy Saturday is
very somber and I think you're not supposed to eat on Saturday at all.  A
basket is put together of all the goodies and taken to church and after a
marathon 4-hour service that begins at midnight (even though people arrive
earlier; the church is mobbed) and ends at 4:00 am, the baskets of food are
blessed and you go home and you eat.  When we were kids it was fun, we'd
hang out in the church yard.  We all knew Russian fluently.  Most people
didn't make it to the end.  The church would be pretty empty by 4:00 a.m.. 
Now it's all different.  The older people I grew up with are gone, and
mostly everything is in English.  It's no fun anymore.  American Easter is
a nonevent.  A chocolate bunny is Easter?  Orthodox Christmas is like
American Easter, a big nothing, where American Christmas is like Russian
Easter, a huge deal.  Everybody's Christian on Christmas I guess.  

Mike, do Catholics fast?  No meat on Fridays, but that's not really
fasting.   Protestants seem so bland to me.  Except maybe the Puritans when
they burned the witches.

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