By this is commonly understood complete abstinence from food and drink for a period preceding the reception of Communion. The traditional period of the fast in the W. was from the previous midnight. The observance was taken over by the Reformers, but gradually died out among Protestants, though it was encouraged in the C of E by the Tractarians. In the RC Church in 1964 the period of the fast was reduced to one hour before receiving Communion. In the E. Church a strict fast is observed from bedtime on the previous day.