A basic element of the Greek diet,
a sign of piety but also
an important factor of good health.
From the privative νη, which in ancient Greek means όχι (think also of νηνεμία) and the verb εσθίω that means eat (from which the word εστιατόριο and others are derived).
In Orthodox Greece fast means abstinence from foods that contain animal products (meat, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, and fish). Regarding fish, the ones that have no blood are allowed to be consumed, such as shrimps, squids, octopus, lobsters, mussels and crawfish.
The most common fasts are:
- Three long ones that are allocated evenly during the year
- 40 days before Christmas
- 49 days before Easter
- 15 days before 15th of August
- Every Wednesday and Friday
- Some other celebrations (such as 29th of August etc.)
If you sum up the above days, you will realize that we fast (all of those who fast) 50% of the days of the year without being vegetarians.
That is why in Greek diet are also included many dishes with fasting foods.
We note that most of the appetizers on a Greek table do not contain meat.