The tradition to abstain from food for a day or more has existed since Old Testament times. All Jews were required to fast before some important events, battles or in times of calamities. Moses himself was fasting on Mt. Sinai.
The annual worship calendar of the Orthodox Church marks several days when the faithful are required to abstain from food all day long. These days include Holy Friday, Exaltation of the Cross, Christmas Eve, and Theophany Eve. There is a tradition in Greece not to eat anything during the first three days of the Great Lent, that is, prior to the first Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. Many Greek Orthodox…

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