February 28, 2006

How many more days in the fast?

The 2006 Fast of Solidarity is off to an ominous start. Day 1 almost saw the Fun Zone collapse onto his computer screen at 12:00 (Farenj time), only to be infused with a sudden rush of energy that saw him to the 2:00 hour and a plate full of fasting firfir.

I decided to try the fast this year, as I've always had an interest in fasting and an admiration for those who are able to do it. I figure fasting with a whole group of people is also a good idea as it will give me the support and encouragement I need to adhere. And, since 2/3 of my family is of the Orthodox Christian faith, I figured this was the fast I should follow, as opposed to say, the Muslim fast of Ramadan.

Anyway, Day 1 was a success, but not without its trials. I think the hardest part was this morning, waking up hungry, and knowing that satisfaction was a distant seven hours away. It's not like I didn't try to gorge myself last night, either. Never before had shiro, potato sauce, and sauteed vegetables tasted so delicious, and I certainly consumed my share. But those vegetarian dishes are not the kinds that fuel you up and can sustain you until the afternoon of the next day.

Pathetic? Well, give the Fun Zone credit, this is his first fast. For our foreign observers not familiar with the Ethiopian Lenten fast, it goes from yesterday (February 26) until Easter, during which time the faithful do not eat anything until mass ends every day, generally around 3:00 pm. When they do eat, they avoid all dairy and animal products. A lot of people say it's not so rigid, that you can sort of pick and choose what you want to do, like a menu, but I don't really believe them when the say it. I think most people enjoy the rewards of a strict fast.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. Maybe next fall I'll try Ramadan for comparison, but got to get one fast under what I expect will be my increasingly shrinking beltline first.


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