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Fasting is the abstinence from all or some specific foods. Many religions observe periods of fasting. For example, observant Eastern Orthodox Christians fast several times throughout the year including Great Lent, the Nativity Fast and the Dormition Fast. Similarly, some Hindus or Sikhs may observe a fast or special diet on specific days of the week throughout the year or on specific holy days.

For Muslims, an absolute fast is observed in daylight hours during the month of Ramadan. Specific timings to start or break the fast are followed: for example, Suhoor is a meal that is taken during the night before the fasting period begins at dawn; likewise Iftar is the meal to break the fast after sunset. The Department of Health provides a guide on healthy living and Ramadan.

The impact of fasting may vary between individuals and the number of people involved. As fasting may disrupt regular sleeping or eating patterns, members of staff may request modification to their start or end times. Such requests for flexible working patterns should be considered by managers using the relevant University policy.

More information on fasting dates can be found in the Mindful of the Needs of Others publication on the traditions and customs of a particular religion, by accessing the Religion/Belief web pages of the E&D Section.