20 Fascinating Facts About Lent

Did you know that the original length of Lent was only 36 days before it was later changed to 40 days?

During the Lenten season, people who give up their vices for the betterment of their health can become irritable, so please be kind to your Christian friends.

According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, Lent is a time for Christians to return home to the Church.

Here are 20 interesting facts about Lent!

Lent is a period of penitence and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches for 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Sundays are not included in the 40-day count.

Since Sundays are not included, Lent technically lasts for 46 days.

Why is Lent 40 days? The number 40 is significant for Christians. For example, Jesus spent 40 days in a desert, Noah had to wait 40 days for his ark to float, and Moses and his followers traveled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.

The tradition of Lent was started by Catholics around the year 325 during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread to other Christian denominations such as Western Orthodox Churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans.

The word Lent comes from the Middle English word “lente,” which means springtime.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when followers spread ashes on their forehead to signal their repentance to God. The ashes come from burning last year’s palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday.

Fasting is a central component of Lent, but this practice has diminished in recent years. However, that doesn’t stop New Orleans from throwing a huge party called Mardi Gras on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, also known as “Fat Tuesday.”

In the Catholic tradition, followers should not eat meat from any warm-blooded animal during Lent. This rule has been relaxed to “You can’t eat meat on Fridays.”

Cold-blooded animals such as fish can be consumed during Lent, which is why fast-food restaurants offer sales on their fish sandwiches during this time.

Christians also abstain from certain vices during Lent, such as chocolate, TV, video games, or other pleasurable activities. Some even abstain from sex for 40 days, despite being told to “go forth and multiply.”

Prayer is another common practice for those observing Lent. This, along with fasting, helps Christians stay centered in Christ and God.

Violet is the official color of Lent, representing mourning for Jesus dying on the cross while also celebrating his resurrection with the colors of royalty.

Lent does not actually end on Easter Sunday; it ends on Good Thursday, the day Jesus has The Last Supper. Good Friday is when Jesus dies on the cross, and on Easter Sunday, he rises from the grave.

Catholics aged 14 and above are expected to abstain from consuming meat on Ash Wednesday, while those aged between 18 and 59 should fast. However, one regular-sized meal and two small ones are allowed and still considered a fast. The period also presents an opportunity for followers to engage in acts of charity, with over $250 million donated to feed the hungry during Lent. The date for Easter, which falls between March 22 and April 25, has been predetermined for thousands of years based on the full moon of the Passover. The start of Lent can be determined by counting 46 days (including Sundays) or 40 days (excluding Sundays) from Easter. Christian churches fast and abstain from vices, and during the “Great Lent,” they cannot consume meat, fish, eggs, or butter. Wine, oil, and dairy products are also prohibited. A 2014 study showed that 72% of adults knew what Lent was, with 88% of those participating in Lent giving up some food item for 40 days, with chocolate being the most common. Lent is a time to fast and sacrifice for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

FAQ

1. What is Lent?

Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter, observed by many Christians around the world. It is a time of reflection, penance, and spiritual renewal, during which believers may choose to fast, give up certain luxuries, or engage in acts of charity and goodwill.

2. Why is it called Lent?

The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten,” which means “springtime.” The period of Lent traditionally coincides with the onset of spring, and is seen as a time of growth and renewal.

3. When does Lent begin and end?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on a different date each year depending on the lunar calendar. It lasts for 40 days, excluding Sundays, and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

4. What do people give up for Lent?

Many people choose to give up certain luxuries or vices during Lent as a form of self-discipline and spiritual growth. Common things to give up include sweets, alcohol, social media, or other habits that may be distracting or unhealthy.

5. What are some traditional Lenten practices?

Some traditional practices during Lent include fasting, attending daily Mass, praying the rosary, and participating in acts of charity and goodwill. Many churches also offer special programs and resources for believers looking to deepen their spiritual practice during this time.

6. What is the significance of Easter in relation to Lent?

Easter is the culmination of the Lenten season, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the victory over sin and death. Lent is seen as a time of preparation and reflection leading up to this joyous event, and is an important part of the Christian calendar for many believers around the world.

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