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SPAN 1101 Food and Religion
Major Religions of the World
What does religion mean to you?
What does religion have to do with food?
Christianity: 1.9 billion people
Islam: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 800 million
Buddhism: 325 million
Judaism: 13 million
Hinduism includes a very wide range of
beliefs and practices, so there aren't many
things that are common to all Hindu
Hinduism has no founder, no single book
of faith, no creed, and no single source of
authority (such as Jesus)
Hinduism is very individualistic but a big
part of a person’s everyday life
For many Hindus, religion is a matter of practice
rather than of beliefs. It's more what you do than
what you believe.
Behind Hindu practice is the belief that every soul
is trapped in a cycle of birth-deathrebirth(reincarnation). Every Hindu wants to
escape from this cycle.
Hindus aim to live in a way that will cause each of
their lives to be better than the life before.
Whether one is reborn into a better life, a worse
life, or even to live as an animal, depends on
Karma, which is the value of a soul's good and bad
Hindu Beliefs
All good things in life are gifts from God
Finding out what your life’s calling is as
Dharma suggest/requires is a very
important goal
Being a fair and decent person is very
Wealth, power and material belongings
are good goals as long as they don’t
become all important
Moksha is the ultimate goal
Hindu Gods
One would think Hinduism is polytheistic. Most
Hindus would say they worship one God.
There is only one ultimate God, Brahman, but
shows itself in many forms
The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, for
example, are different aspects of Brahman:
Brahma reflects God's divine work of creating
the universe
Vishnu reflects God's work in keeping the
universe in existence
Shiva reflects God's work in destroying it
Meat was not originally prohibited, but many Hindus today
regard vegetarianism as a way to maintain the respect
observed for life.
Hinduism is characterized by the avoidance of the killing of any
animal, the cleansing of those involved in food preparation,
which is a reflection on previously existing caste-restricted
practices, and the symbolism of certain foods.
The cow is held in high regard as a symbol of abundance and
so it is not eaten by Hindus, yet products such as milk, butter
and yogurt may be eaten.
Some Hindus fast on selected days as a mark of respect to
certain gods.
Founded in India around 500 BC by
Siddhartha Guatama
Became Buddha, the Enlightened One,
when he was 29
He was trying to find the true meaning of
life and eventually, through four trancelike stages of meditation, he was
enlightened to the Buddhist was of life
His main teachings was to eliminate
human wants as they are the cause of
suffering in the world
Buddhism has no unique creed, no single authority
and no single sacred book
Buddhism focuses on each individual seeking to
attain enlightenment
Key beliefs and values are contained in "The Four
Noble Truths“
1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment to worldly things
3. The end to suffering is attainable through eliminating
physical wants/needs
Eventually can achieve Nirvana(no wind)
Nirvana means freedom from all worries and
Eight Fold Path
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
Think and do the right things at all times
3. Right Speech
To see and view things as they really are
Attained true wisdom
Do not lie, curse, slander, or gossip
4. Right Action
Do not harm yourself or others, do not steal,
and no sexual misconduct
Buddhism considers living beings to be sacred. Violence
towards animals is considered to translate into human
aggression; hence most Buddhists will keep to the
principle of ahimsa (non-violence or harmlessness) and
avoid all foods related to processes where harm was done.
Widely practiced vegetarianism and veganism. Some
Buddhists avoid meat and dairy products while others
avoid only meat.
Buddhists also avoid the consumption of alcohol.
Monks and nuns of this religion fast in the afternoon and
rely on ‘alms’ or donations of food. They are not allowed
to cultivate, store or cook their own food.
Early Japanese
Religion, still practiced
Ancestors become
“kami” or supernatural
 Okuninushi, Master of the Great Land, is a saint of rice wine
brewing. The Emperor shares new rice with Shinto deities
 Homes contain altars to kamis which are given fresh food and
drink each day.
Is a monotheistic religion
Judaism is the oldest and smallest of the
world's five great religions
Being a part of a Jewish community and
living one's life according to Jewish law
and traditions is very important.
The fundamental beliefs of Judaism are:
-There is a single, all-powerful God,
who created the universe and
everything in it.
-God has a special relationship with the
Jewish people due to covenant that
God made with Moses on Mount
Sinai, 3500 years ago.
Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith
G-d exists
G-d is one and unique
G-d is incorporeal
G-d is eternal
Prayer is to be directed to G-d alone and to no other
The words of the prophets are true
Moses’ prophecies are true, and Moses was the
greatest of the prophets
The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral
Torah were given to Moses
There will be no other Torah
G-d knows the thoughts and deeds of men
G-d will reward the good and punish the wicked
The Messiah will come
The dead will be resurrected
The Jewish place of worship is called a
The religious leader of a Jewish community
is called a Rabbi
Unlike leaders in many other faiths, a rabbi
is not a priest and has no special religious
The Jewish holy day, or Sabbath(Shabbat),
starts at sunset on Friday and continues
until sunset on Saturday
During the Sabbath, Jews do not
work(drive, cook, etc)
7 Holy Days
Rosh Hashanah-Jewish New Year
TODAY: Yom Kippur-A day of fasting
and praying which occurs 10 days
after the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
The holiest day in the year
Sukkot-8 day festival of thanksgiving
Hanukkah-The Feast of Lights is an 8 day
Feast of Dedication. It recalls the war
fought by the Maccabees in the cause of
religious freedom
Purim-The Feast of Lots recalls the defeat
by Queen Esther of the plan to slaughter all
of the Persian Jews, circa 400 BC
Pesa(Passover)-The 8 day festival recalls the
exodus of the Israelites from slavery in
Egypt circa 1300 BCE. A holiday meal, the
Seder, is held at home
Shavouth-Pentecost recalls God's revelation
of the Torah to the Jewish people
Kosher Foods
Foods are kosher when they meet all
criteria that Jewish law applies to food
Characteristics that make a food nonkosher:
the mixture of meat and milk
the use of cooking utensils which had
previously been used for non-kosher food
The type of animal it is
Leviticus 11:3 says that Jews may eat all
animals that have cloven hooves and chew
their cud
Leviticus 11:4 explicitly prohibited the
consumption of animals that do not have
these characteristics designating them
"unclean to you."
Six mammals are specifically not allowed:
The camel
The hyrax
The hare
The pig
Whales and dolphins
Kosher animals are as follows:
Cows, goats, sheep, antelope, deer, giraffes, okapis and
Most fish(excluding shellfish, sharks, octupus, eels and
Chicken, duck, turkey
Milk and cheese are kosher but cannot be eaten with meat
or mixed with meat.
the slaughter of animals is designed to minimize the pain—
usually done by a slice across the throat
this eliminates the practice of hunting for food unless it can
be captured alive and ritually slaughtered.
All blood and veins must be removed from meat(salting and
broiling are common methods)
Based on the life and teachings of Jesus
Originated in Palestine in the 1st century
Believe that Jesus was the son of God who
came and died for people’s sins and then
rose so that all people could be saved
Believe in one God(monotheistic) who
created the universe and all things in it
Christianity originally developed as a part
of Judaism
Christian Way of Life
Fellowship with God
Our relationships with others
Obedience to God's commands
Ten Commandments
Important Days
Ash Wednesday-Lent
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Food regulations differ from one Christian denomination
or group to another, with some groups not observing any
restrictions at all.
Some fasting days are observed by Catholic and
Orthodox Christians on certain days such as Good Friday
or during Lent. In earlier centuries, meat and dairy
products were avoided during most of the year, but
today it often just means eating fish on a Friday.
The ritual of consuming bread and wine (Holy
Communion or the Eucharist) is regularly celebrated but
its symbolic or actual meaning in relation to the body
and blood of Jesus Christ depends on the denomination
Islam is the world's second most followed religion
It began around 1400 years ago in Arabia, but swiftly
become a world faith, and now has around 1.2 billion
"Islam" is an Arabic word which means “surrendering
oneself to the will of God”
One will achieve peace and security by doing so
A person surrenders to the will of Allah by living and
thinking in the way Allah has instructed.
Islam is more than a system of beliefs. The faith
provides a social and legal system and governs things
like family life, law and order, ethics, dress, and
cleanliness, as well as religious ritual and
observance—Islamic Republic
Where is Islam practiced?
The countries with the largest Islamic
populations are not in the Middle East as
most would think
The largest are Indonesia (170 million),
Pakistan (136 million), Bangladesh (105
million), and India (103 million)
Islam's three holiest places, the cities of
Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, are all in
the Middle East
The present form of Islam began in Arabia in
622 AD
It is based on the ministry of a man named
Muhammad and on the words that Allah gave to
the world through him
Muhammad did not found Islam. Islam was
created by Allah at the beginning of time, and in
fact Muslims regard Adam as the first Muslim
Muhammad was the final messenger through
whom Allah revealed the faith to the world
There had been earlier messengers, among
them Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
5 Pillars of Islam
1. Shahada(witness) is the Muslim
profession of faith
- "I witness that there is no god but
Allah, and that Muhammad is the
prophet of Allah"
Muslims say this when they wake up in
the morning and just before they go to
sleep at night
2. Salat (daily prayer) is a prayer ritual
performed 5 times a day by all Muslims
over the age of 10
Between first light and sunrise
After the sun has passed the middle of
the sky
Between mid-afternoon and sunset
Between sunset and the last light of the
Between darkness and dawn
3. Sawm (fasting) is abstaining each day during
Sawm helps Muslims develop self-control, gain
a better understanding of God's gifts and
greater compassion towards the deprived.
Ramadan is the holiest day for Islam. It marks
when Muhammad had the Qur-an revealed to
Sawm is usually described as fasting, but it
actually involves abstaining from all bodily
pleasures between dawn and sunset
Not only is food forbidden, but also things like
smoking, chewing gum, negative thoughts and
sexual activity
4. Zakat(almsgiving) is giving alms to the
This is a compulsory gift of 2.5 % of
one's savings each year
Giving in this way is intended to free
Muslims from the love of money
It reminds them that everything they
have really belongs to God.
4. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that all
physically/financially able Muslims should
make at least once in their life
 Mecca is the most holy place for Muslims
 Takes place during days 8-13 of the 12th
month of the Islamic Lunar calendar
 They circle the Kaaba seven times on
three occasions, say prayers, drink from a
holy spring, walk to Mount Arafat to pray,
feast, cast stones at three pillars(to fight
Satan’s temptations), shave hair, run
seven times between some hills
Islamic Law
The Sharia outlines all of the laws(comes
from the Koran)
5 Major Crimes:
theft, highway robbery, intoxication, adultery
and falsely accusing another of adultery
Sharia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Food Laws
Very similar laws to the Jewish kosher
No alcohol, pork, blood, no pork fat
products, scavenger animals
Food must be prepared similarly to the
Slice to the jugular
Drain blood