Just about every major religion on earth has laws that in one form or another dictate what its devotees can and can’t eat. Some are stricter than others; some only go into effect during specific times of year; some involve ritual fasting. But what are these laws, exactly? And why do they exist?
We’re taking a look at five of the world’s major religions — Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism — and their dietary laws and customs. Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan? Why do Jews have to keep kosher? Why do Catholics fast during Lent and eat fish on Fridays? Each religion has its laws about how its adherents should act, but few have a greater effect on their daily lives than dietary restrictions.
So read on to learn what the dietary laws and restrictions are for those five major religions, and why they exist. Some exist for health and dietary reasons and some exist simply because that’s what the holy book says, but these laws affect the daily lives of billions of people around the globe.