Great Lent 2019: what can and cannot be eaten

Lent has already come - food restrictions begin on February 19 and will last until Easter on April 7, after which you can eat almost any food, and even have a little good red wine for the holiday. About how to eat these days, what kind of exemptions exist for individuals, is described in detail below.

Dates and significance of Lent

Fasting in Orthodoxy is a temporary restriction in nutrition, the main purpose of which is the rejection of worldly, bodily pleasures in favor of the soul. Lent is the longest: the total number of days is at least 40, because according to legend, Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.

In fact, the duration may vary depending on the rules in a particular denomination: for example, in Orthodoxy the total number of days is 48: 6 weeks and Holy Week is the last week before Easter (in fact, this is 6 days, since the Bright Resurrection is not included there). The entire period is divided into 4 key stages:

  1. Fourteenth is the first 40 days, the main stage of Lent.
  2. Lazarev Saturday is the day before Palm Sunday, when, according to tradition, Christ raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.
  3. Palm Sunday is the day the Lord entered Jerusalem. The holiday is celebrated exactly one week before Easter.
  4. Holy Week is the last time of Christ's life on earth, the week before Easter. During this period, the most severe dietary restrictions are assumed - mainly dry food (consumption of plant products without heat treatment and any kind of fat).

Fasting = diet?

There is a rather simplistic opinion that fasting can be considered a kind of Orthodox diet. The similarity here is only external: indeed, in both cases, people consciously go to significant restrictions on food. However, the meaning of such decisions is different. The diet is aimed at improving the body, improving the appearance, the formation of attractive body contours. Fasting, on the other hand, helps believers to get in touch with the sufferings of Christ and thereby give the Savior a well-deserved tribute of respect.

How to eat during Lent: step-by-step instructions for the day

General dietary rules for all 7 weeks (6 weeks and a passionate week) are described in the table.










total ban on food

bread and water


boiled foods with butter



boiled foods without oil


boiled foods without oil


boiled foods with butter




boiled foods with butter


boiled foods without oil

boiled foods with butter, caviar

a fish



boiled foods with butter

total ban on food

boiled foods without oil


What is dry eating

Dry eating (or dry eating) is a diet in which all products of plant origin should not undergo heat treatment (cooking, frying, stewing, baking). That is, vegetable dishes are eaten raw or soaked, pickled, pickled, etc. The intake of vegetable oil of any origin, as a rule, is also excluded. Of sweets, only honey is allowed. Any hot drinks are also excluded. Bread (but not sweet pastries) is allowed.

Allowed Products

Allowed foods include only plant-based foods. Sometimes you can add vegetable oil to it (sunflower, olive, corn, etc.), but not on all days (see table):

  • any kind of bread;
  • any types of cereals;
  • vegetables in any form;
  • mushrooms in any form;
  • legumes (well replace meat protein);
  • dried fruits, nuts, honey;
  • jam (not used during the Holy Week);
  • fruits in any form.

Prohibited Products

Any products of animal origin are prohibited, including:

  • meat in any form;
  • any kind of fish (except Palm Sunday);
  • caviar in any form (with the exception of Lazarus Saturday);
  • all dairy products;
  • eggs of any birds;
  • offal (liver, kidneys, hearts, etc.);
  • animal fats (butter, ghee, lard, etc.).

Who is allowed to relax in food

There is a certain category of people who are allowed some concessions:

  1. Pregnant and lactating women.
  2. Small children.
  3. Men who work hard physical work and therefore need a constant supply of protein.
  4. Elderly people.
  5. People with poor health (chronic diseases of the digestive system, after surgery, etc.).

What kind of exemptions are allowed, you must check with your doctor, as well as the priest. In any case, you can’t torture your body: it is unacceptable to undermine health for the sake of fasting.

Didn’t have time - is it too late?

Even if a person has not started fasting from the very beginning, he can join him at any time. This is often said by the priests themselves. For example, you can endure at least a passionate week (the last 6 days before Easter).

How to behave during Lent: 7 useful tips

During the entire period of restrictions it is necessary to remember for what purposes it is carried out. Man deliberately denies himself food and other natural pleasures because he decided to express his respect and gratitude to the Savior, who gave his life, but rose on the third day after death. That is, you need to fast consciously, this is a mature, thoughtful decision of a person. It is also necessary to remember such rules:

  1. First of all, before Lent begins, it is better for a person to go to church and receive a blessing from a priest. This is especially important for people who, for objective reasons, cannot unconditionally comply with all restrictions (pregnant women, people with poor health, etc.).
  2. Also, for all this period it is better to allocate time for attending the liturgy, to try to be in the church as often as possible. This facilitates the task, because psychologically it is important for a person to get support in the temple, where the situation itself sets up for a certain spiritual wave.
  3. You should exclude the consumption of alcoholic beverages on all days, excluding Palm Sunday and Easter, when you can drink a little red wine (preferably Cahors).
  4. Fasting is not only a restriction in food, but also a certain spiritual humility, which is achieved by refusing all carnal pleasures (if possible): intimacy, attending noisy events and generally any actions that clearly distract from the spiritual mood.
  5. These days, it is especially important to help your loved ones and generally any people who ask about it (of course, help should be just to the needy person and within reasonable limits).
  6. During the entire post a person is forbidden to swear. You should also refrain from trying to find out relationships that almost always run the risk of scandal. Such conversations may well be postponed to any other days.
  7. Finally, the most important rule: of course, every person has questions, doubts, psychological problems, because any restriction is not easy. Therefore, at any moment you can go to church and talk with the priest to dispel unnecessary thoughts. You can talk with an experienced believer, whom you certainly trust.

Thus, Lent is more than just food restrictions. It turns out that this is a specific technique that allows a person to tune into the spiritual and a little escape from the usual fuss. And, of course, the benefits will be tangible both for the soul and for the body.

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