Religion and food: Lord knows, they don’t mix

Many religions have sensitive views on eating beef, but Hinduism and Jainism strictly forbid it. Continue reading if you want to learn why there is no beef on the menu. This article will examine the justifications for these two religions’ prohibitions on beef consumption so that you can better understand why abstaining from beef is so significant to these religions.

More than eight-in-ten Sikhs (82%) and Jains (85%) say that a person cannot be truly a member of their religion if they consume beef. Buddhists are split on the issue, with about half expressing that someone cannot be a Buddhist if they eat beef.

Most Indians are not vegetarians, but majorities do follow at least some restrictions on meat in their diet

The majority of Indians do not describe themselves as vegetarians: When asked if they are vegetarian, 61% of Indians say “no.” (While there are many ways to define “vegetarian” in India, the survey left the definition of vegetarian up to the respondent.)

Nearly four-in-ten adults in India (39%) say they do follow a vegetarian diet, including 44% of Hindus Most Sikhs (59%) identify as vegetarians, as do an overwhelming majority of Jains (92%) Muslims (8%), Christians (10%) and Buddhists (25%) are less likely to say they are vegetarians

Along with those who identify as vegetarians, a large number of Indians refrain from eating meat in some other way. About four-in-ten Indians (42%) say they are not vegetarian but that they abstain from eating meat on certain days and/orabstain from eating certain meats, including three-in-ten who follow both of these restrictions Altogether, 81% of Indians limit their meat consumption in some way %E2%80%93 either they are vegetarians, or they avoid certain meats and/or avoid meat on certain days

Most members of India’s major religious groups claim to adhere to at least one of these dietary restrictions on meat. Jains nearly universally abstain from meat either fully or partially (97%) Christians and Muslims are the least likely to abide by such dietary restrictions; still, about two-thirds among these groups abstain from meat in some way, including 53% of Muslims and 46% of Christians who abstain from eating certain meats Among Hindus, 83% say they are either vegetarians or have restrictions on what kinds of meat they eat or when

The survey also reveals that the majority of Hindus and Muslims believe one cannot be both a Hindu and a Muslim if they consume beef or pork, respectively (see Chapter 5).

Vegetarianism is more prevalent among Hindus who practice their religion more strictly. Among those who say religion is very important in their lives, 46% say they are vegetarians, compared with 33% among Hindus who say religion is less important to them A similar pattern holds with partisanship: Hindus who express a favorable view of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are more likely than others to be vegetarians (49% vs 35%). Meanwhile, Hindu members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other lower castes are less likely than General Category Hindus to say they are vegetarians (40% vs 53%).

There is also significant regional variation among Hindus on this question: The majority of Hindus in Northern (71%), Central (61%) and Western (57%) India say they are vegetarians, while this is much rarer in the East (18%), Northeast (19%) and South (30%) However, even in areas where fewer Hindus practice vegetarianism, many do adhere to at least some dietary restrictions regarding meat. For example, 39% of Hindus in the South say they don%E2%80%99t eat meat on certain days and don%E2%80%99t eat certain meats, while another 14% abide by just one of these two limitations

One-in-five Hindus abstain from eating root vegetables

All respondents to the survey were questioned about their consumption of root vegetables like garlic and onion. The Jain religion forbids eating root vegetables because removing a plant’s roots kills the plant.

Indeed, a majority of Indian Jains (67%) say they abstain from eating root vegetables Jains are far more likely than any other religious group to do this, but even among Hindus (21%) and Sikhs (18%), roughly one-in-five say they do not eat root vegetables Hindu vegetarians who eat root vegetables and those who don’t are roughly equally split.

Among Hindus, those who say religion is very important in their lives are slightly more likely than others to say they abstain from eating root vegetables (22% vs 17%). And Hindus in the Northern (35%) and Central (29%) regions are more likely than Hindus elsewhere to avoid root vegetables

There weren’t enough interviews with Jain respondents in the survey to fully analyze their dietary habits.

Fewer than half of vegetarian Hindus willing to eat in non-vegetarian settings

Although opinions differ greatly by religious group, the majority of vegetarians in India claim they would not consume food in non-vegetarian settings.

Fewer than half of Hindu vegetarians say they would ever eat food in a restaurant that serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food (36%) or in the home of a friend or neighbor who is non-vegetarian (39%) And much smaller shares of Jain vegetarians share these sentiments: 8% say they would eat at a restaurant that serves non-vegetarian food, and 11% say they would eat at the home of a friend who is not a vegetarian About three-in-ten Sikh vegetarians would eat in such situations.

In contrast, the majority of vegetarian Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists claim they would eat in these non-vegetarian places. For example, roughly three-in-four vegetarian Christians (77%) say they would eat at the home of a friend or neighbor who is non-vegetarian

Among Hindus, vegetarians in the South are most likely to express willingness to eat in a non-vegetarian restaurant or home %E2%80%93 around two-thirds say they would eat at a restaurant that serves meat (64%) or in the home of someone who is not vegetarian (67%) Comparatively, in most other regions, less than half of Hindu vegetarians share this sentiment.

Men are marginally more likely than women among Hindu vegetarians to say they would eat in non-vegetarian settings.

Indians evenly split about willingness to eat meals with hosts who have different religious rules about food

The survey asked Indian adults whether they would ever eat food in someone else’s home or at a gathering hosted by people whose religion has different dietary rules than their own. This is because different religions in India have different dietary laws.

Indians are generally evenly divided on their willingness to eat in each setting. Just under half of India%E2%80%99s Hindus say they would eat in a home (46%) or at a function (47%) where the host%E2%80%99s religion has different rules about food than Hinduism, and nearly identical shares of Sikhs say they would be willing to eat in the home of (45%), or at an event hosted by (47%), people whose religion has different dietary ru

Only about 25% of Jains say they would be willing to eat in these circumstances. In contrast, about 60% or more of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists would be willing to eat at a home or event where the host had different dietary restrictions.

Only in the South do a majority of Hindus say they would be willing to eat either in the home of (66%), or at an event hosted by (67%), people whose dietary rules differ from their own

Majority of Indians say they fast

Fasting is an important religious observance in India. Religious festivals in India are often accompanied by fasting, and many people also observe religious fasts on certain days of the week and to mark important events in their life. Most Indian adults say they fast, including nearly eight-in-ten or more Hindus (79%), Jains (84%) and Muslims (85%). Smaller majorities of Christians and Buddhists respond similarly (64% and 61%, respectively), while Sikhs have the lowest rate of fasting (28%).

Hindus of all ages, educational levels, and caste divisions claim to fast at roughly the same rates. Hindu women, though, are significantly more likely than Hindu men to say they fast (87% vs 70%). And Hindus who say religion is very important in their lives are more likely than other Hindus to say they fast (81% vs 65%).

Hindus living in the Southern (68%) and Northeastern (64%) regions are less inclined toward fasting than Hindus living in the rest of the country

Nearly all Muslims, regardless of their educational levels, age groups, or geographic locations, claim to observe fasting. (One of the Five Pillars of Islam is fasting during Ramadan. ) But Muslims in the Northeast are somewhat less likely than Muslims elsewhere to say they fast (65% vs 85% nationally).

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What cultures forbid beef?

In nations like India, cattle have historically held a place of honor as objects of reverence. Some Hindus, especially Brahmins, strictly refrain from eating meat because they are vegetarians. Those who do consume meat refrain from eating beef because the cow is revered in Hinduism.

Is there a religion that does not eat meat?

More than 400 million people, according to researchers, identify as vegetarians. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, three of the major religions practiced in India, all place a strong emphasis on a plant-based diet.

What religion eats beef but not pork?

Eating pig flesh is expressly prohibited by Jewish (kashrut), Islamic (halal), and Adventist (kosher animals) dietary laws in the Abrahamic religions.

Do Buddhists eat beef?

Monks and many adherents from regions historically influenced by Mahayana Buddhism consume Buddhist cuisine, an Asian cuisine. It is based on the Dharmic principle of ahimsa (non-violence), and it is vegetarian or vegan.

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