Our fascination with fasting and feasting!

Which side of the ‘fasting’ debate are you on? Do you believe in it or not?

With Navratri just around the corner, the whole process of ‘fasting’ for devi maa will start, along with a grand feast at the end of the fasting. Hmm. Why are we so fascinated by the idea of keeping ‘vrat’ and then digging into delicious foods at one go? Isn’t that harmful to our system? With the 9-day festival starting soon, it’s going to one mad rush at the fruit stalls to stock up on bananas and singadas (water caltrop), which are considered to be ideal fasting foods.

Whether it’s to appease the gods or to barter with them, fasting is an integral part of every Indian household. From unmarried girls doing ‘Solah Somvar Vrat’ for a good husband to married girls keeping the ‘Karva Chauth’ for the long life of their husbands, the fasting scheme is more women-centric. Probably, it’s the ladies who have the patience to fast, prep for the puja and take care of their families as well. Wow! Or may be Bollywood is to be blamed as every Karan Johar movie has an elaborate Karva Chauth scene!


In a way, fasting is good for health…but only if you don’t OD on food immediately after breaking your vrat. Since your system is used to four meals a day in a balanced manner, it goes berserk when you keep long intervals between meals. Most women complain of giddiness and low BP AFTER they have broken the fast during festivals as the number of sweets fed to them wrecks havoc with the body. The immediate rush of sugar can be harmful. Yet, the fascination for fasting continues. From fancy fasting snacks to pills, it’s one crazy business that completely overshadows the religious value attached to it. When people on fasts eat ‘Sabudana Vada’, ‘salt-less potato vadas’ and ‘Singada parathas’, it beats the purpose of going empty stomach…doesn’t it? And who came up these fasting snacks is beyond us. This sort of concession with okay with the gods or what! Perhaps.


It’s said that fasting reinforces your belief in your religion/god and makes you a stronger person. Is that why we love it so much? Because it connects us with our maker? Some psychologists argue that fasting helps the society at large. As when you feel firsthand what it’s to go without food and water, you understand the plight of the less privileged. And the health benefits, as stated by nutritionists, are also many- fasting helps in detoxification, in bowels movement and it in breaking down of fats. But what we do after fasting for long is that we stuff our faces with a feast, which results in acute acidity and stomach cramps. So if you don’t know how to fast right, don’t fast at all.

Which side of the debate are you on? Do you believe in fasting or brush it off as fascination? Let us know!

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