Fasting has an ancient and revered place in the many religious traditions that human communities have fostered throughout history and across the globe. In India, to take a modern example, Hindu women commonly carry out ritual fasts or vrats. Fasting, particularly in its collective forms, is also frequent and widespread among western groups that scholars have sometimes described as Abrahamic religions. Muslims annually observe Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer, and celebration. Jews customarily fast, taking no food or drink from sunup to sundown, several days each year and, most notably, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. For medieval Christians, preparation for the holy feasts of Christmas and Easter meant substantial periods of religious preparation, the well-known Advent and Lenten periods complete with fasting and abstinence from certain foods. In contemporary Christian circles, fasting may be less widely practiced, yet it retains an important place among Roman Catholics and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, to cite but two better-known cases. In short, the utilization of food for purposes of religious devotion and piety, whether through fasting or feasting, has been a long-standing custom within and without western religious culture.