Majority of Greeks Claim to Fast During Holy Week: Survey

Many Greeks will be refraining from meat, desserts and olive oil before Easter.

Two out of three Greeks say they will be fasting on Holy Week and one in six claim that they will be fasting throughout Lent, according to a consumer survey published Thursday.

The survey by the Institute of Retail Trade Research was conducted between 6 and 18 March on a sample of 800 consumers from all over Greece.

According to the results, the majority of respondents, 67 percent, say that they will be fasting on Holy Week, which this year is between 2-7 April.

A further 22 percent say that they will be fasting some of the days.

However, only 17 percent of respondents say that they will be fasting throughout Lent.

The vast majority of respondents, 73 percent, believe that fasting is a healthy option.

The survey also finds that five percent of food retail sales, worth approximately €900 million ($1.1 billion), are related to or affected by fasting and eating habits during the period leading to Easter.

The Greek Orthodox fasting practice is unique in that you can actually eat real food; they only need to avoid animal products, sweets and, according to some, olive oil.

Most (85 percent) find it difficult to do without olive oil during the fasting period. Dairy products and sweets follow.

Only 18 percent say they have “great difficulty” in doing without meat during Lent and Holy Week.