5 things to know about lent before you drop those Easter eggs
New Delhi, Mar 6 : A season of prayer and penance in the Christian church, and a period of preparation for the Easter season, here is all that you need to know about Lent.
46-days-long festival: Lent technically lasts 46 days, but since Sundays are considered a part of this period, the festival goes on for 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The number 40 is a significant for Christians for a number of reasons.
The number shows up often in the Bible. Before his temptation, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights on a desert. Noah, the tenth of the pre-flood Patriarchs, had to wait 40 days for his ark to float. And Moses, along with his followers, travelled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
Celebrated by: The festival is observed the by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches.
Catholics had started the tradition of Lent around the year 325 and it has spread through other Christian denominations, including Western Orthodox Churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans.
Fasting for 40 days: One of the significant features of this festival is fasting, a practice that has become less prominent lately.
According to the Catholic tradition, during this period, devotees should not consume meat of any warm-blooded animal, which means, they can eat fish and other cold-blooded animals. During the festival, several fast-food restaurants increase the sales of their fish sandwiches.
Avoiding other vices: During Lent, some Christians abstain from certain vices including chocolate, TV, video games and other activities that provide pleasure.
The end: While Lent is the period of preparation for the Easter season, it does not end on Easter. It ends on Good Thursday, the day Jesus has The Last Supper.
Engaging in acts of charity is another custom that is considered to be part of this period.