Latin : QUADRAGESIMA: _Fortieth_) is a solemn religious
observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash
Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before
. The purpose of
Lent is the preparation of the believer through
prayer , doing penance , mortifying the flesh , repentance of sins,
almsgiving , and self-denial . This event is observed in the Anglican
Eastern Orthodox ,
Methodist , and Roman Catholic
Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the
Lenten season. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual
Holy Week , marking the death, burial, and
Jesus , which recalls the tradition and events of the
New Testament beginning on
Palm Sunday , further climaxing on Jesus'
Good Friday , which ultimately culminates in the joyful
Easter Sunday of the
Resurrection of Jesus Christ .
In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting , as well as "giving up"
certain luxuries in order to "replicate the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days." Many Christians also
add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional
or praying through a
Lenten calendar , to draw themselves near to God.
Stations of the Cross , a devotional commemoration of Christ\'s
carrying the Cross and of his execution , are often observed. Many
Roman Catholic and some
Protestant churches remove flowers from their
altars, while crucifixes , religious statues, and other elaborate
religious symbols are often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn
observance of the event. Throughout
Christendom , some adherents mark
the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of
meat, most notably among Roman Catholics.
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in
commemoration of the forty days
Jesus spent fasting in the desert ,
according to the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and Luke , before beginning
his public ministry , during which he endured temptation by
Holy Week and the season of Lent, depending on denomination and local
custom, end with
Easter Vigil at sundown on
Holy Saturday or on the
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Duration and traditions
* 2.1 Roman Catholicism
* 2.2 Eastern Orthodoxy and
* 2.4 Protestantism and Western Orthodoxy
* 3 Other related fasting periods
* 4 Associated customs
* 5 Omission of Gloria and
* 6 Veiling of religious images
* 7 Pre-Lenten festivals
Fasting and abstinence
* 9 Media coverage
* 10 Facts about
* 10.2 Vestments
* 11 References
* 12 External links
Lent celebrants carrying out a street procession during Holy
Week , in
Granada, Nicaragua . The violet color is often associated
with penance and detachment . Similar Christian penitential practice
is seen in other
Catholic countries , sometimes associated with
mortification of the flesh .
The English word _Lent_ is a shortened form of the
Old English word
_len(c)ten_, meaning "spring season ", as its
Dutch language cognate
Old Dutch _lentin_) still does today. A dated term in German
, _lenz_ (
Old High German _lenzo_), is also related. According to the
Oxford English Dictionary _, 'the shorter form (? Old Germanic type
*_laŋgito_- , *_laŋgiton_-) seems to be a derivative of *_laŋgo_-
long ... and may possibly have reference to the lengthening of the
days as characterizing the season of spring'. The origin of the -_en_
element is less clear: it may simply be a suffix , or _lencten_ may
originally have been a compound of *_laŋgo_- 'long' and an otherwise
little attested word *-_tino_, meaning 'day'.
In languages spoken where
Christianity was earlier established, such
as Greek and
Latin , the term signifies the period dating from the
40th day before Easter. In modern, Greek the term is
_Σαρακοστή_, derived from the earlier
_Τεσσαρακοστή,_ meaning "fortieth". The corresponding word
in Latin, _quadragesima_ ("fortieth"), is the origin of the term used
in Latin-derived languages and in some others: for example, Croatian
_korizma_, French _carême_, Irish _carghas_, Italian _quaresima_,
Portuguese _quaresma_, Albanian _kreshma_, Romanian _păresimi_,
Spanish _cuaresma_, Basque _garizuma_ and Welsh _c(a)rawys_.
In other languages, the name used refers to the activity associated
with the season. Thus it is called "fasting period" in Czech (_postní
doba_), German (_Fastenzeit_), and Norwegian (_fasten_/_fastetid_),
and it is called "great fast" in Polish (_wielki post_) and Russian
(великий пост – _veliki post_).
The terms used in Filipino are _kuwaresma_ (from the Spanish) and
_Mahál na Araw_ ("precious/great days"); the latter term is also used
specifically for Holy Week.
DURATION AND TRADITIONS
Christian denominations calculate the 40 days of Lent
differently. The way they observe
Lent also differs.
Roman Rite , the definition of
Lent varies according to
Lent ends on either
Holy Thursday or Good Friday.
While the official document on the Lenten season, _Paschales
Solemnitatis_, says that "the first Sunday of
Lent marks the beginning
of the annual Lenten observance", the _Universal Norms on the
Liturgical Year and the Calendar_ says, "The forty days of
Ash Wednesday up to but excluding the Mass of the Lord\'s Supper
exclusive." The first source represents a period of 40 days and the
second a period of 44 days, because both sources agree that the end of
Lent comes the evening of Holy Thursday, before the Mass of the Lord's
Supper. Though some sources try to reconcile this with the phrase
"forty days" by excluding Sundays and extending
Lent through Holy
Saturday no official documents support this interpretation.
Ambrosian Rite ,
Lent begins on the Sunday that follows what
is celebrated as
Ash Wednesday in the rest of the
Church , and ends as in the Roman Rite, thus being of 40 days,
counting the Sundays but not
Holy Thursday . The day for beginning the
Lenten fast is the following Monday, the first weekday in Lent. The
Ash Wednesday fast is transferred to the first Friday of the
Ambrosian Lent. Until this rite was revised by Saint Charles Borromeo
the liturgy of the First Sunday of
Lent was festive, celebrated in
white vestments with chanting of the
Gloria in Excelsis and
in line with the recommendation in Matthew 6:16, "When you fast, do
not look gloomy".
The period of
Lent observed in the Eastern Catholic Churches
corresponds to that in other churches of
Eastern Christianity that
have similar traditions.
EASTERN ORTHODOXY AND BYZANTINE RITE
Byzantine Rite , i.e., the
Great Lent (Greek:
Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή or Μεγάλη Νηστεία,
meaning "Great 40 Days" and "Great Fast" respectively) is the most
important fasting season in the church year.
The forty days of
Great Lent includes Sundays, and begins on Clean
Monday (two days earlier than Ash Wednesday) and are immediately
followed by what are considered distinct periods of fasting, Lazarus
Palm Sunday , which in turn are followed straightway by
Holy Week .
Great Lent is broken only after the Paschal (Easter)
Eastern Orthodox Church maintains the traditional Church's
teaching on fasting. The rules for lenten fasting are the monastic
Fasting in the Orthodox Church is more than simply abstaining
from certain foods. During the
Great Lent Orthodox Faithful intensify
their prayers and spiritual exercises, go to church services more
often, study the Scriptures and the works of the
Church Fathers in
depth, limit their entertainment and spendings and focus on charity
and good works.
Oriental Orthodox , there are various local traditions
regarding Lent. Those using the
Alexandrian Rite , _i.e._, the Coptic
Orthodox , Coptic Catholic , Ethiopian Orthodox , Ethopian Catholic ,
Eritrean Orthodox , and Eritrean Catholic Churches, observe eight
weeks of Lent.
In Ethiopian Orthodoxy, fasting (_tsome_) lasts for 55 continuous
Fasika _), although the fast is divided into
three separate periods: Tsome Hirkal, eight days commemorating an
early Christian figure; Tsome Arba, forty days of Lent; and Tsome
Himamat, seven days commemorating
Holy Week .
abstention from animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs), and
refraining from eating or drinking before 3:00 PM. Ethiopian devotees
may also abstain from sexual activity and the consumption of alcohol.
As in the
Eastern Orthodox Churches, the date of
Easter is reckoned
according to the
Julian Calendar , and usually occurs later than
Easter according to
Gregorian Calendar used by Catholic and Protestant
PROTESTANTISM AND WESTERN ORTHODOXY
One calculation has been that the season of
Lent lasts from Ash
Holy Saturday . This calculation makes
Lent last 46
days, if the 6 Sundays are included, but only 40, if they are
excluded, because there is no obligation to fast on the six Sundays
in Lent. This definition is still that of the
Anglican Church ,
Lutheran Church ,
Methodist Church , and Western Rite Orthodox
OTHER RELATED FASTING PERIODS
The season of
Lent begins on
Ash Wednesday , most notably by the
public imposition of ashes. A Christian clergyman imposes ashes on a
member of the
United States Navy .
The number 40 has many Biblical references:
Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18)
Elijah spent 40 days and nights walking to
Mount Horeb (1 Kings
* God sent 40 days and nights of rain in the great flood of Noah
* the Hebrew people wandered 40 years in the desert while traveling
Promised Land (Numbers 14:33)
Jonah 's prophecy of judgment gave 40 days to the city of Nineveh
in which to repent or be destroyed (
Jesus retreated into the wilderness, where He fasted for 40 days,
and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–2, Mark 1:12–13, Luke
4:1–2). He overcame all three of Satan's temptations by citing
scripture to the devil, at which point the devil left him, angels
ministered to Jesus, and He began His ministry .
Jesus further said
that His disciples should fast "when the bridegroom shall be taken
from them" (Matthew 9:15), a reference to his Passion.
* Since, presumably, the Apostles fasted as they mourned the death
of Jesus, Christians have traditionally fasted during the annual
commemoration of his burial.
* It is the traditional belief that
Jesus laid for 40 hours in the
tomb, which led to the 40 hours of total fasting that preceded the
Easter celebration in the early Church (the biblical reference to
'three days in the tomb' is understood by them as _spanning_ three
days, from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning, rather than three
24-hour periods of time). Some Christian denominations, such as The
Way International and Logos Apostolic Church of God, as well as
E. W. Bullinger in _The Companion Bible_, believe
Christ was in the grave for a total of 72 hours, reflecting the type
Jonah in the belly of the whale.
One of the most important ceremonies at
Easter is the baptism of the
Easter Eve. The fast was initially undertaken by the
catechumens to prepare them for the reception of this sacrament .
Later, the period of fasting from
Good Friday until
Easter Day was
extended to six days, to correspond with the six weeks of training
necessary to give the final instruction to those converts who were to
Converts to Catholicism followed a strict catechumenate or period of
instruction and discipline prior to baptism. In
Jerusalem near the
close of the fourth century, classes were held throughout
three hours each day. With the legalization of
Christianity (by the
Edict of Milan ) and its later imposition as the state religion of the
Roman Empire , its character was endangered by the great influx of new
members. In response, the Lenten fast and practices of
self-renunciation were required annually of all Christians, both to
show solidarity with the catechumens, and for their own spiritual
Statues and icons veiled in violet shrouds for
Passiontide in St
Pancras Church, Ipswich , United Kingdom
There are traditionally 40 days in Lent; these are marked by fasting,
both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance . The
three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during
Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self),
and almsgiving (justice towards neighbours).
However, in modern times, observers give up partaking in vices and
often invest the time or money saved in charitable purposes or
In addition, some believers add a regular spiritual discipline, to
bring them closer to God, such as reading a Lenten daily devotional .
Another practice commonly added is the singing of the Stabat Mater
hymn in designated groups. Among Filipino Catholics, the recitation of
Jesus Christ' passion, called
Pasiong Mahal , is also observed. In
some Christian countries, grand religious processions and cultural
customs are observed, and the faithful attempt to visit seven churches
Holy Week in honor of
Jesus Christ heading to
Mount Calvary .
In many liturgical
Christian denominations ,
Good Friday , Holy
Saturday , and
Easter Sunday form the
Easter Triduum .
Lent is a
season of grief that necessarily ends with a great celebration of
Easter. Thus, it is known in
Eastern Orthodox circles as the season of
"Bright Sadness." It is a season of sorrowful reflection which is
punctuated by breaks in the fast on Sundays.
OMISSION OF GLORIA AND ALLELUIA
Gloria in excelsis Deo _, which is usually said or sung on
Sundays at Mass of the
Roman Rite and
Anglican rite, is omitted on the
Sundays of Lent, but continues in use on solemnities and feasts and on
special celebrations of a more solemn kind. Some mass compositions
were written especially for Lent, such as Michael Haydn's _Missa
tempore Quadragesimae _, without Gloria, in D minor, and for modest
forces, only choir and organ. The Gloria is used on
Holy Thursday , to
the accompaniment of bells, which then fall silent until the _Gloria
in excelsis_ of the
Easter Vigil .
Roman Rite associates the _
Alleluia _ with joy and omits it
entirely throughout Lent, not only at Mass but also in the
the Hours as well as outside the liturgy. Before 1970, the omission
Septuagesima . The word "Alleluia" at the beginning and end
of the Acclamation Before the Gospel at Mass is replaced by another
phrase. Before 1970, the whole Acclamation was omitted and was
replaced by a Tract . Again, before 1970, the word "Alleluia" normally
added to the _
Gloria Patri _ at the beginning of each Hour of the
Liturgy of the Hours was replaced by the phrase _Laus tibi, Domine,
rex aeternae gloriae_ (Praise to you, O Lord, king of eternal glory).
Now it is simply omitted.
Ambrosian Rite was revised by Saint
Charles Borromeo the
liturgy of the First Sunday of
Lent was festive, celebrated with
chanting of the Gloria and Alleluia, in line with the recommendation
in Matthew 6:16, "When you fast, do not look gloomy".
Byzantine Rite , the Gloria (
Great Doxology ) continues to be
used in its normal place in the
Matins service, and the Alleluia
appears all the more frequently, replacing "God is the Lord" at
VEILING OF RELIGIOUS IMAGES
In certain pious
Catholic countries , before the Second Vatican
Council , religious objects were veiled for the entire 40 days of
Lent. Though perhaps uncommon in the United States of America, this
pious practice is consistently observed in
Goa, India , Malta, Peru,
the Philippines (the latter only for the entire duration of Holy Week,
with the exception of processional images), and in the Spanish cities:
Málaga , and
Seville . In Ireland, before
Vatican II ,
when impoverished rural Catholic convents and parishes could not
afford purple fabrics, they resorted to either removing the statues
altogether or, if too heavy or bothersome, turned the statues to face
the wall. As is popular custom, the 14
Stations of the Cross plaques
on the walls are not veiled. A veiled altar cross at an Anglican
cathedral in St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral,
Crucifixes made before the time of
Saint Francis of Assisi did not
have a corpus (body of Christ) and therefore were adorned with jewels
and gemstones, which was referred to as _Crux Gemmatae_. To keep the
faithful from adoring the crucifixes elaborated with ornamentation,
veiling it in royal purple fabrics came into place. The violet colour
later evolved as a color of penance and mourning.
Further liturgical changes in modernity reduced such observances to
the last week of
Passiontide . In parishes that could afford only
small quantities of violet fabrics, only the heads of the statues were
veiled. If no violet fabrics could be afforded at all, then the
religious statues and images were turned around facing the wall.
Flowers were always removed as a sign of solemn mourning.
In pre-1970 forms of the Roman Rite, the last two weeks of
Passiontide , a period beginning on the Fifth Sunday in Lent,
which in the 1962 edition of the
Roman Missal is called the First
Passiontide and in earlier editions Passion Sunday. All
statues (and in England paintings as well) in the church were
traditionally veiled in violet. This was seen as in keeping with the
Gospel of that Sunday (John 8:46–59), in which
Jesus "hid himself"
from the people. A crucifix on the high altar is veiled for Lent.
Saint Martin's parish,
Württemberg , Germany
Perhaps, in part, due to a general decline in piety and ornate
Catholic artwork, in general, within many churches in the United
States of America, after the Second Vatican Council, the need to veil
statues or crosses became increasingly irrelevant and was deemed
unnecessary by some diocesan bishops. As a result, the veils were
removed at the singing of the
Gloria in Excelsis Deo during the Easter
Vigil. In 1970, the name "Passiontide" was dropped, although the last
two weeks are markedly different from the rest of the season, and
continuance of the tradition of veiling images is left to the
discretion of a country's conference of bishops or even to individual
parishes as pastors may wish.
Good Friday , the Anglican, Lutheran, and
Methodist churches used
to veil "all pictures, statutes, and the cross are covered in mourning
black", while the chancel and altar coverings are replaced with black,
and altar candles are extinguished." The fabrics are then "replaced
with white on sunrise on
Easter Sunday ." However, most Anglican
churches now use purple fabric to cover the cross, etc.
Mardi Gras ,
Pancake Day , and
The carnival celebrations which in many cultures traditionally
Lent are seen as a last opportunity for excess before Lent
begins. Some of the most famous are the
Carnival of Barranquilla , the
Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife , the
Carnival of Venice , Cologne
Carnival , the New Orleans
Mardi Gras , the
Rio de Janeiro carnival ,
and the Trinidad and Tobago
The day immediately preceding
Lent is called
Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday
Pancake Tuesday , or
Shrove Tuesday .
Originally, in Lebanon and Syria, the last Thursday preceding Lent
was called "Khamis el zakara". For Catholics, it was meant to be a day
of remembrance of the dead ones. However, _zakara_ (which means
"remembrance", in Arabic) was gradually replaced by _sakara_ (meaning
"getting drunk" in Arabic), and so the occasion came to be known as
Khamis el sakara _, wherein celebrants indulge themselves with
alcoholic beverages .
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
Lent was more prominent in ancient times than today.
Socrates Scholasticus reports that in some places, all animal products
were strictly forbidden, while various others permitted fish, or fish
and fowl, others prohibited fruit and eggs, and still others permitted
only bread. In some places, the observant abstained from food for a
whole day until the mid-afternoon or evening.
Latin Catholics, by the early 20th century the theoretical
obligation of the penitential fast throughout
Lent except on Sundays
was to take only one full meal a day and that around noon. In
addition, a smaller meal, called a collation , was allowed in the
evening, and a cup of some beverage, accompanied by a little bread, in
the morning. In practice, this obligation, which was a matter of
custom rather than of written law, was not observed strictly.
1917 Code of Canon Law allowed the full meal on a fasting day to
be taken at any hour and to be supplemented by two collations, with
the quantity and the quality of the food to be determined by local
custom. The Lenten fast ended on
Holy Saturday at noon. Only those
aged 21 to 59 were obliged to fast. As with all merely ecclesiastical
laws, particular difficulties, such as strenuous work or illness,
excused one from observance, and a dispensation from the law could be
granted by a bishop or parish priest. In addition to fasting,
abstinence from meat was to be observed on
Ash Wednesday and on
Fridays and Saturdays in Lent.
A rule of thumb is that the two collations should not add up to the
equivalent of another full meal. Rather portions were to be:
"sufficient to sustain strength, but not sufficient to satisfy
The apostolic constitution _Paenitemini_ of 17 February 1966 reduced
the fasting days to two:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and allowed
episcopal conferences to "substitute abstinence and fast wholly or in
part with other forms of penitence and especially works of charity and
the exercises of piety". This was made part of the 1983 Code of Canon
Law , which made obligatory fasting for those aged between 18 and 59,
and abstinence for those aged 14 and upward.
The Irish Catholic Bishops\' Conference decided to allow other forms
of Friday penance to replace that of abstinence from meat, whether in
Lent or outside Lent, suggesting alternatives such as abstaining from
some other food, or from alcohol or smoking; making a special effort
at participating in family prayer or in Mass; making the Stations of
the Cross ; or helping the poor, sick, old, or lonely. The Catholic
Bishops\' Conference of England and Wales made a similar ruling in
1985 but decided in 2011 to restore the traditional year-round Friday
abstinence from meat. The United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops has maintained the rule of abstention from meat on Friday only
During the early Middle Ages , eggs, dairy products, and meat were
generally forbidden. In favour of the traditional practice, observed
both in East and West,
Thomas Aquinas argued that "they afford greater
pleasure as food , and greater nourishment to the human body, so that
from their consumption there results a greater surplus available for
seminal matter, which when abundant becomes a great incentive to
lust." Aquinas also authorized the consumption of candy during Lent,
because "sugared spices" (such as comfits ) were, in his opinion,
digestive aids on par with medicine rather than food. _ Jousting
Carnival is represented by a fat man on a beer barrel who
wears a huge meat pie as headdress;
Lent is represented by a thin
gaunt woman on a cart (shown here) bearing Lenten fare: mussels,
pretzels, and waffles. Oil painting The Fight Between
Lent _ by
Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (circa 1558–1559).
In Spain, the bull of the Holy
Crusade (renewed periodically after
1492) allowed the consumption of dairy products and eggs during Lent
in exchange for a contribution to the cause of the crusade.
Giraldus Cambrensis , in his _Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through
Wales_, reports that "in Germany and the arctic regions," "great and
religious persons," eat the tail of beavers as "fish" because of its
superficial resemblance to "both the taste and colour of fish." The
animal was very abundant in Wales at the time.
In current Western societies the practice is considerably relaxed,
though in the Eastern Orthodox,
Oriental Orthodox , and Eastern
Catholic Churches , abstinence from all animal products including
eggs, fish, fowl, and milk sourced from animals (e.g., cows and goats,
as opposed to the milk of coconuts and soy beans) is still commonly
practiced, so that, where this is observed, only vegetarian (or vegan
) meals are consumed for the whole of Lent, 45 days in the Byzantine
In the Western Catholic Church, the obligation to fast no longer
applies to all weekdays of
Lent (40 days), but only to Ash Wednesday
and Good Friday. In the tradition of this part of the Catholic Church,
abstinence from eating some form of food (generally meat, but not
dairy or fish products) is distinguished from fasting. Fasting
involves having during the day only one proper meal with up to two
"collations", light meatless meals sufficient to maintain strength
but not adding up to the equivalent of a full meal. In principle,
abstinence is to be observed on
Ash Wednesday and on every Friday of
the year that is not a solemnity (a liturgical feast day of the
highest rank); but in each country the episcopal conference can
determine the form it is to take, perhaps replacing abstinence with
other forms of penance.
Present canonical legislation on these matters follows the 1966
Apostolic Constitution of
Pope Paul VI , _
Paenitemini _, in which he
recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic
situation and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. He also
allowed replacing fasting and abstinence with prayer and works of
charity in countries with a lower standard of living. The law of
abstinence binds those age 14 or over, and that of fast binds those
who are at least 18 years of age and not yet 60. The sick and those
who have special needs are excused, and dispensations can be granted
by episcopal conferences or individual bishops, which can be wider
outside of Lent. Even during Lent, the rule about solemnities holds,
so that the obligation of Friday abstinence does not apply on 19 and
25 March when, as usually happens, the solemnities of Saint Joseph and
Annunciation are celebrated on those dates. The same applies to
Saint Patrick\'s Day , which is a solemnity in the whole of Ireland as
well as in dioceses that have
Saint Patrick as principal patron saint.
In some other places, too, where there are strong Irish traditions
within the Catholic community, a dispensation is granted for that day.
Hong Kong , where
Ash Wednesday often coincides with Chinese New
Year celebrations, a dispensation is then granted from the laws of
fast and abstinence, and the faithful are exhorted to use some other
form of penance.
Protestant Reformation , in the
Lutheran Church , "Church
orders of the 16th century retained the observation of the Lenten
fast, and Lutherans have observed this season with a serene, earnest
attitude." In the
Anglican Church , Saint Augustine\'s
Prayer Book ,
a companion to the Book of Common
Prayer , states that fasting is
"usually meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and
one half meal, on the forty days of Lent." It further states that "the
major Fast Days of
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as the American
Prayer-Book indicates, are stricter in obligation, though not in
observance, than the other Fast Days, and therefore should not be
neglected except in cases of serious illness or other necessity of an
absolute character." In many pious
Catholic countries ,
religious processions such as
Lent are often accompanied by a military
escort both for security and parade.
Ceuta , Spain
Traditionally, on Sunday, and during the hours before sunrise and
after sunset, some Churches, such as Episcopalians, allow "breaks" in
Lent promises. For Roman Catholics, the Lenten penitential
season ends after the
Easter Vigil Mass . Orthodox Christians also
break their fast after the
Paschal Vigil , a service which starts
around 11:00 pm on Holy Saturday, and which includes the Paschal
celebration of the Divine
Liturgy of St.
John Chrysostom . At the end
of the service, the priest blesses cheese, eggs, flesh meats, and
other items that the faithful have been abstaining from for the
duration of Great Lent.
Lenten traditions and liturgical practices are less common, less
binding, and sometimes non-existent among some liberal and progressive
Christians, since these generally do not emphasize piety and the
mortification of the flesh as a significant virtue. A greater
emphasis on anticipation of
Easter Sunday is often encouraged more
than the penitence of
Lent or Holy Week.
Some Christians as well as secular groups also interpret the Lenten
fast in a positive tone, not as renunciation but as contributing to
causes such as environmental stewardship and improvement of health.
Even some atheists find value in the Christian tradition and observe
During Lent, BBC\'s
Radio Four normally broadcasts a series of
programmes called the _
Lent Talks _. These 15-minute programmes are
normally broadcast on a Wednesday and have featured various speakers.
FACTS ABOUT LENT
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Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre , Old
Mount Calvary , where tradition claims Jesus
was crucified and died
There are several holy days within the season of Lent:
Ash Wednesday is the first day of
Lent in the
Roman Rite and in
the traditions of most mainline Reformed and
* In the
Ambrosian Rite and the
Mozarabic Rite , there is no Ash
Lent begins on the first Sunday and the fast begins on the
* The Sundays in
Latin names in German
derived from the beginning of the Sunday's introit . The first is
called Invocabit, the second Reminiscere, the third Oculi, the fourth
Laetare , the fifth Judica, the sixth
Palm Sunday .
* The fourth Sunday in Lent, which marks the halfway point between
Ash Wednesday and
Easter Sunday, is referred to as
Laetare Sunday by
Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and many other Christians, because of the
traditional Entrance Antiphon of the Mass. Due to the more "joyful"
character of the day (since _laetare_ in
Latin means "rejoice"), the
priest, deacon, and subdeacon have the option of wearing vestments of
a rose colour (pink) instead of violet.
* Additionally, the fourth Lenten Sunday,
Mothering Sunday , which
has become known as Mother's Day in the United Kingdom and an occasion
for honouring mothers of children, has its origin in a 16th-century
celebration of the
Mother Church .
* The fifth Sunday in Lent, also known in some denominations as
Passion Sunday (and in some denominations also applies to Palm Sunday
) marks the beginning of
* The sixth Sunday in Lent, commonly called
Palm Sunday , marks the
Holy Week , the final week of
Lent immediately preceding
* Wednesday of Holy Week,
Holy Wednesday (also sometimes known as
Spy Wednesday ) commemorates
Judas Iscariot 's bargain to betray
* Thursday of
Holy Week is known as
Maundy Thursday or Holy
Thursday, and is a day Christians commemorate the
Last Supper shared
by Christ with his disciples .
* The next day is
Good Friday , on which Christians remember Jesus'
crucifixion , death, and burial.
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In the Anglican, Lutheran, Old Catholic, Roman Catholic, and many
other churches, the
Easter Triduum is a three-day event that begins
Maundy Thursday evening, with the entrance hymn of the Mass of the
Lord's Supper. After this celebration, the consecrated Hosts are taken
solemnly from the altar to a place of reposition, where the faithful
are invited to meditate in the presence of the consecrated Hosts.This
is the Church's response to Jesus' question to the disciples sleeping
in the Garden of
Gethsemane , "Could you not watch with me one hour?"
On the next day, the liturgical commemoration of the Passion of Jesus
Christ is celebrated at 3 pm, unless a later time is chosen due to
This service consists of readings from the Scriptures , especially
John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist 's account of the Passion of Jesus, followed by
prayers, veneration of the cross of Jesus, and a communion service at
which the hosts consecrated at the evening Mass of the day before are
Easter Vigil during the night between Holy Saturday
Easter Sunday morning starts with the blessing of a fire
and a special candle, and with readings from Scripture associated with
baptism . Then, the
Gloria in Excelsis Deo is sung, water is blessed,
baptism and confirmation of adults may take place, the people are
invited to renew the promises of their own baptism, and finally, Mass
is celebrated in the usual way from the Preparation of the Gifts
Holy Week and the season of Lent, depending on denomination and local
custom , end with
Easter Vigil at sundown on
Holy Saturday or on the
Easter Sunday. It is custom for some churches to hold
sunrise services which include open air celebrations in some places.
In the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and many
Anglican churches, the
priest's vestments are violet during the season of Lent. On the fourth
Sunday in Lent, rose-coloured (pink) vestments may be worn in lieu of
Anglican churches, a type of unbleached linen or muslin known
as "Lenten array" is worn during the first three weeks of Lent,
crimson is worn during Passiontide, and on holy days, the colour
proper to the day is worn.
Fasting in the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Fasting and abstinence in the
Fasting and abstinence of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
* Fast of
* People\'s Sunday
Lent Event , asks people to donate the value of what they forego
Cold Food Festival
Counting of the Omer
* Tisha B\'Av
* ^ Stoll, Anita K.; Smith, Dawn L. (2000). _Gender, Identity, and
Representation in Spain\'s Golden Age_. Bucknell University Press. p.
178. ISBN 9780838754252 . Retrieved 4 May 2017.
* ^ _Comparative Religion For Dummies_.
For Dummies . 31 January
2011. ISBN 9781118052273 . Retrieved 8 March 2011. This is the day
Lent begins. Christians go to church to pray and have a cross drawn in
ashes on their foreheads. The ashes drawn on ancient tradition
represent repentance before God. The holiday is part of Roman
Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopalian liturgies, among
* ^ _A_ _B_ Gassmann, Günther (4 January 2001). _Historical
Dictionary of Lutheranism_. Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 180. ISBN
* ^ Benedict, Philip (3 March 2014). _Christ's Churches Purely
Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism_. Yale University Press. p.
506. ISBN 030010507X .
* ^ _Mennonite Stew – A Glossary: Lent_. Third Way Café.
Retrieved 24 February 2012. Traditionally,
Lent was not observed by
the Mennonite church, and only recently have more modern Mennonite
churches started to focus on the six-week season preceding Easter.
* ^ Brumley, Jeff. "
Lent not just for Catholics, but also for some
Baptists and other evangelicals". The Florida Times Union. Retrieved 3
* ^ Burnett, Margaret (5 March 2017). "Students observe
campus – The Brown and White". The Brown and White. Retrieved 14
* ^ _A_ _B_ Crumm, David. _Our Lent, 2nd Edition_. ISBN 1934879509
* ^ Ambrose, Gill; Craig-Wild, Peter; Craven, Diane; Moger, Peter
(5 March 2007). _Together for a Season_. Church House Publishing. p.
34. ISBN 9780715140635 .
* ^ This practice is observed in numerous pious Catholic countries,
although the form of abstention may vary depending on what is
customary. Some abstain from meat for forty days, some do so only on
Fridays, or some only on
Good Friday itself. By pontifical decree
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI , eggs and dairy products may be consumed by
penitents in Spain and its colonized territories.
* ^ "What is
Lent and why does it last forty days?". The United
Methodist Church. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
* ^ "The Liturgical Year". The
Anglican Catholic Church. Retrieved
24 August 2007.
* ^ "etymologiebank.nl".
* ^ _ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lent". Encyclopædia Britannica
_. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 427.
* ^ Paschales Solemnitatis 23
* ^ "The
Roman Missal ". 2011. p. 113.
* ^ Paschales Solemnitatis 38
* ^ Chilson, Richard (1987). _Catholic Christianity: A Guide to the
Way, the Truth, and the Life_. Paulist Press. p. 91. ISBN
* ^ Geddes, Gordon; Griffiths, Jane (2002). _Christian Belief and
Roman Catholic Tradition_. Heinemann. p. 98. ISBN
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Il Tempo di Quaresima nel rito Ambrosiano" (PDF) (in
Italian). Parrocchia S. Giovanna Antida Thouret. Retrieved 9 June
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _ Herbert, Thurston (1910). "Lent". In Herbermann,
Catholic Encyclopedia _. 9. New York: Robert Appleton
Company. See paragraph: Duration of the Fast
* ^ _A_ _B_ The "Secret of the Mass" in the First Sunday of Lent
– "_Sacrificium Quadragesimalis Initii"_, Missale Romanum
* ^ http://www.antiochian.org/fasting-great-lent
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ James Jeffrey (22 March 2017). "Ethiopia: fasting
for 55 days".
Deutsche Welle . Retrieved 24 March 2017.
* ^ "Tsome Nenewe (The Fast of Nineveh)".
Minneapolis : Debre Selam
Medhanealem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. 28 January 2015.
Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
* ^ Robel Arega. "
Fasting in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church".
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Sunday School Department –
Mahibere Kidusan. Why Fifty-Five Days?. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Akin, James. "All About Lent". EWTN. Retrieved 3 March
* ^ _A_ _B_ _The Roman and the
Lutheran Observance of Lent_. Luther
League of America. 1920. p. 5.
* ^ _What is
Lent and why does it last forty days?_. The United
Methodist Church. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
Lent is a season of forty
days, not counting Sundays, which begins on
Ash Wednesday and ends on
Holy Saturday. Sundays in
Lent are not counted in the forty days
because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit
Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
* ^ Kitch, Anne E. (10 January 2003). _The
Anglican Family Prayer
Book_. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 130.
* ^ _The Northwestern Lutheran, Volumes 60–61_. Northwestern
Publishing House. 1973. p. 66.
* ^ Langford, Andy (4 January 1993). _Blueprints for worship: a
user's guide for United
Methodist congregations_. Abingdon Press. p.
* ^ Fenton, John. "The Holy Season of
Lent in the Western
Tradition". Western Rite of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian
Archdiocese of North America. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
Lent & Beyond: Dr. Peter Toon—From
Quadragesima (web site gone, no alternate source found, originally
cited 27 August 2010)
* ^ _
Jesus Was Literally Three Days and Three Nights in the Grave_,
www.logosapostolic.org, retrieved 23 March 2011
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Jesus Stay In
the Tomb?". www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
* ^ "Lent—disciplines and practices". Spirit Home. Retrieved 27
* ^ "General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 19".
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* ^ General Instruction of the
Roman Missal , 53
* ^ Roman Missal, Thursday of the Lord's Supper, 7
* ^ Bratcher, Dennis (2015). "The Days of Holy Week". CRI.
* ^ _ O'Neill, James David (1909). "Fast". In Herbermann, Charles.
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* ^ "CIC 1917: text – IntraText CT".
* ^ Gregson, David. "Fasting". _EWTN_. Eternal Word Television
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* ^ Pope Paul VI,
Apostolic Constitution _Paenitemini_
* ^ 1983 Code of Canon Law, canons 1249–1253
* ^ Irish Catholic Bishops\' Conference, _Friday Penance_
Fasting and Abstinence. Statement from the Bishops of England
and Wales on Canons 1249–1253
* ^ "Catholics asked to abstain from meat for Friday penance". _BBC
* ^ "Re: Meatless Friday".
* ^ "_Summa Theologica_ Q147a8". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 27 August
* ^ Richardson, Tim H. (2002). _Sweets: A History of Candy_.
Bloomsbury USA. pp. 147–148. ISBN 1-58234-229-6 .
* ^ Alejandro Torres Gutiérrez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
"Millennium:Fear and Religion". Archived from the original on 18
* ^ "Baldwin\'s Itinerary Through Wales No. 2 by Giraldus
Cambrensis". Gutenberg.org. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 27 August
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* ^ _A_ _B_ "Penitential Days – Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong".
* ^ _A_ _B_ Code of Canon Law, canons 1249–1253
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Friday: Who Sets the Rules on Lent?". _Slate_. Retrieved 13 February
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* ^ Hebden, Keith (3 March 2014). "This
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highlight the hunger all around us". _The Guardian_.
* ^ DiLallo, Matt (2 March 2014). "Believe it or Not, Catholics
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* ^ Winston, Kimberly. "After giving up religion, atheists try
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19 March 2013.
* ^ "Programmes:
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* ^ "spy, _n_.", _OED Online_, Oxford University Press, December
2013, SPY WEDNESDAY _n_. in Irish use, the Wednesday before Easter.
* ^ Packer, George Nichols (1893). "Our Calendar: The Julian
Calendar and Its Errors, how Corrected by the Gregorian". Corning, NY:
. p. 112. Retrieved 15 December 2013. Spy Wednesday, so called in
allusion to the betrayal of Christ by Judas, or the day on which he
made the bargain to deliver Him into the hands of His enemies for 30
pieces of silver.
* ^ McNichol, Hugh (2014). "
Spy Wednesday conversion to Holy
Wednesday". Catholic Online. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
* ^ The Church of England rubric states: "The colour for a
particular service should reflect the predominant theme. If the
Collect, Readings, etc. on a Lesser Festival are those of the saint,
then either red (for a martyr) or white is used; otherwise, the colour
of the season is retained." See page 532 here.
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