Home    Number 2, 2011

Russian Fasting Practices as Witnessed by Foreigners (XV-XVIII Centuries)

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Tat'iana A. Voronina | russkie2@iea.ras.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)


Russian people, traditional culture, food, foreign observers, fast, ethnic stereotypes, ethnic identity


The article discusses Russian fasting practices of the fifteenth-eighteenth centuries as witnessed by foreigners. Among the records left there are various documents (notes, memoirs, diaries, etc.) on Russians observing several-day and one-day fasts that entailed abstaining from animal food in the everyday diet. Foreign observers pointed to the important place of fasting practices among Russians. In a broader sense, their observations can be used as a source for studying ethnic stereotypes about the Russian people. Given the substantial role of the religious component among the most important characteristics of an ethnic group, one could argue about the fast observance as an essential factor of the Russian ethnic identity.


Voronina, T.A. 2011. Russian Fasting Practices as Witnessed by Foreigners (XV-XVIII Centuries). Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 2: 51-66

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