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LENT ( Latin
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 Easter
Easter
Sunday . The purpose of Lent
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 , Lutheran
Lutheran
, Methodist
Methodist
, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week , marking the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
Jesus
, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament
New Testament
beginning on Palm Sunday , further climaxing on Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday , which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter
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. The Stations of the Cross , a devotional commemoration of Christ\'s carrying the Cross and of his execution , are often observed. Many Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
and some Protestant
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
Lent
is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days Jesus
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 Satan .

Holy Week and the season of Lent, depending on denomination and local custom, end with Easter
Easter
Vigil at sundown on Holy Saturday or on the morning of Easter
Easter
Sunday.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 Duration and traditions

* 2.1 Roman Catholicism * 2.2 Eastern Orthodoxy and Byzantine Rite * 2.3 Oriental Orthodoxy * 2.4 Protestantism and Western Orthodoxy

* 3 Other related fasting periods * 4 Associated customs * 5 Omission of Gloria and Alleluia * 6 Veiling of religious images * 7 Pre-Lenten festivals * 8 Fasting
Fasting
and abstinence * 9 Media coverage

* 10 Facts about Lent
Lent

* 10.1 Easter
Easter
Triduum * 10.2 Vestments

* 11 References * 12 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Lent
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 _lente_ ( 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
Christianity
was earlier established, such as Greek and Latin
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

Various Christian denominations calculate the 40 days of Lent differently. The way they observe Lent
Lent
also differs.

ROMAN CATHOLICISM

In the Roman Rite , the definition of Lent
Lent
varies according to different documents. Lent
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
Lent
marks the beginning of the annual Lenten observance", the _Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar_ says, "The forty days of Lent
Lent
run from 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
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
Lent
through Holy Saturday no official documents support this interpretation.

In the Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite
, Lent
Lent
begins on the Sunday that follows what is celebrated as Ash Wednesday in the rest of the Latin
Latin
Catholic 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 special 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
Lent
was festive, celebrated in white vestments with chanting of the Gloria in Excelsis and Alleluia , in line with the recommendation in Matthew 6:16, "When you fast, do not look gloomy".

The period of Lent
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

Main article: Great Lent

In the Byzantine Rite , i.e., the Eastern Orthodox 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 Saturday and Palm Sunday , which in turn are followed straightway by Holy Week . Great Lent is broken only after the Paschal (Easter) Divine Liturgy.

The Eastern Orthodox Church maintains the traditional Church's teaching on fasting. The rules for lenten fasting are the monastic rules. Fasting
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 ORTHODOXY

Among the 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 days before Easter
Easter
(_ 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 . Fasting
Fasting
involves 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
Easter
is reckoned according to the Julian Calendar , and usually occurs later than Easter
Easter
according to Gregorian Calendar used by Catholic and Protestant Churches.

PROTESTANTISM AND WESTERN ORTHODOXY

One calculation has been that the season of Lent
Lent
lasts from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday . This calculation makes Lent
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
Anglican
Church , Lutheran
Lutheran
Church , Methodist
Methodist
Church , and Western Rite Orthodox Church .

OTHER RELATED FASTING PERIODS

The season of Lent
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
Moses
spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18) * Elijah spent 40 days and nights walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8) * God sent 40 days and nights of rain in the great flood of Noah (Genesis 7:4) * the Hebrew people wandered 40 years in the desert while traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33) * Jonah
Jonah
's prophecy of judgment gave 40 days to the city of Nineveh in which to repent or be destroyed ( Jonah
Jonah
3:4). * Jesus
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
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
Jesus
laid for 40 hours in the tomb, which led to the 40 hours of total fasting that preceded the Easter
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 Anglican
Anglican
scholar E. W. Bullinger in _The Companion Bible_, believe Christ was in the grave for a total of 72 hours, reflecting the type of Jonah
Jonah
in the belly of the whale.

One of the most important ceremonies at Easter
Easter
is the baptism of the initiates on Easter
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
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 be baptized.

Converts to Catholicism followed a strict catechumenate or period of instruction and discipline prior to baptism. In Jerusalem
Jerusalem
near the close of the fourth century, classes were held throughout Lent
Lent
for three hours each day. With the legalization of Christianity
Christianity
(by the Edict of Milan ) and its later imposition as the state religion of the Roman Empire
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 benefit.

ASSOCIATED CUSTOMS

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
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 organizations.

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
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 during Holy Week in honor of Jesus
Jesus
Christ heading to Mount Calvary .

In many liturgical Christian denominations , Good Friday , Holy Saturday , and Easter
Easter
Sunday form the Easter
Easter
Triduum . Lent
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

The _ Gloria in excelsis Deo _, which is usually said or sung on Sundays at Mass of the Roman Rite and Anglican
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
Easter
Vigil .

The Roman Rite associates the _ Alleluia _ with joy and omits it entirely throughout Lent, not only at Mass but also in the Liturgy of the Hours as well as outside the liturgy. Before 1970, the omission began with 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
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.

Until the Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite
was revised by Saint Charles Borromeo the liturgy of the First Sunday of Lent
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".

In the 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 Matins.

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: Barcelona
Barcelona
, Málaga , and Seville
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, Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee

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 Lent
Lent
are known as Passiontide , a period beginning on the Fifth Sunday in Lent, which in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal is called the First Sunday in 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
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.

On Good Friday , the Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist
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
Easter
Sunday ." However, most Anglican churches now use purple fabric to cover the cross, etc.

PRE-LENTEN FESTIVALS

Main articles: Carnival
Carnival
, Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
, Swabian-Alemannic-Fastnacht , Maslenitsa , Pancake Day , and Baklahorani

The carnival celebrations which in many cultures traditionally precede Lent
Lent
are seen as a last opportunity for excess before Lent begins. Some of the most famous are the Carnival
Carnival
of Barranquilla , the Carnival
Carnival
of Santa Cruz de Tenerife , the Carnival
Carnival
of Venice , Cologne Carnival
Carnival
, the New Orleans Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
, the Rio de Janeiro carnival , and the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
Carnival
.

The day immediately preceding Lent
Lent
is called Mardi Gras
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

Fasting
Fasting
during Lent
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.

For Latin
Latin
Catholics, by the early 20th century the theoretical obligation of the penitential fast throughout Lent
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.

The 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 hunger".

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
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 Lent.

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 against Carnival
Carnival
is represented by a fat man on a beer barrel who wears a huge meat pie as headdress; Lent
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 Carnival
Carnival
and Lent
Lent
_ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Pieter Bruegel the Elder
(circa 1558–1559).

In Spain, the bull of the Holy Crusade
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 Rite .

In the Western Catholic Church, the obligation to fast no longer applies to all weekdays of Lent
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 the Annunciation
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. In Hong Kong
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.

After the Protestant
Protestant
Reformation , in the Lutheran
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
Anglican
Church , Saint Augustine\'s Prayer
Prayer
Book , a companion to the Book of Common Prayer
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
Lent
are often accompanied by a military escort both for security and parade. Ceuta
Ceuta
, Spain

Traditionally, on Sunday, and during the hours before sunrise and after sunset, some Churches, such as Episcopalians, allow "breaks" in their Lent
Lent
promises. For Roman Catholics, the Lenten penitential season ends after the Easter
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
Easter
Sunday is often encouraged more than the penitence of Lent
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 Lent.

MEDIA COVERAGE

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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See also: Easter
Easter
Triduum Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
, Old Jerusalem
Jerusalem
on Golgotha , 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
Lent
in the Roman Rite and in the traditions of most mainline Reformed and Protestant
Protestant
traditions. * In the Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite
and the Mozarabic Rite , there is no Ash Wednesday: Lent
Lent
begins on the first Sunday and the fast begins on the first Monday. * The Sundays in Lent
Lent
carry Latin
Latin
names in German Lutheranism , 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
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
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
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 Passiontide . * The sixth Sunday in Lent, commonly called Palm Sunday , marks the beginning of Holy Week , the final week of Lent
Lent
immediately preceding Easter. * Wednesday of Holy Week, Holy Wednesday (also sometimes known as Spy Wednesday ) commemorates Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
's bargain to betray Jesus. * Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, and is a day Christians commemorate the Last Supper
Last Supper
shared by Christ with his disciples . * The next day is Good Friday , on which Christians remember Jesus' crucifixion , death, and burial.

EASTER TRIDUUM

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In the Anglican, Lutheran, Old Catholic, Roman Catholic, and many other churches, the Easter
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 work schedules.

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 distributed. The Easter
Easter
Vigil during the night between Holy Saturday afternoon and Easter
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 onwards.

Holy Week and the season of Lent, depending on denomination and local custom , end with Easter
Easter
Vigil at sundown on Holy Saturday or on the morning of Easter
Easter
Sunday. It is custom for some churches to hold sunrise services which include open air celebrations in some places.

VESTMENTS

In the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and many Anglican
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 violet.

In some Anglican
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.

* Christianity
Christianity
portal

* Fasting
Fasting
in the Eastern Orthodox Church * Fasting
Fasting
and abstinence in the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
* Fasting
Fasting
and abstinence of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

* Fast of Nineveh * People\'s Sunday * Quinquagesima

MODERN INTERPRETATIONS

* Lent Event , asks people to donate the value of what they forego during lent

NON-CHRISTIAN:

* Cold Food Festival * Counting of the Omer * Ramadan
Ramadan
* Tisha B\'Av * Vassa * Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur

GENERAL:

* Asceticism

REFERENCES

* ^ 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
For Dummies
. 31 January 2011. ISBN 9781118052273 . Retrieved 8 March 2011. This is the day Lent
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 others. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gassmann, Günther (4 January 2001). _Historical Dictionary of Lutheranism_. Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 180. ISBN 081086620X . * ^ 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
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
Lent
not just for Catholics, but also for some Baptists and other evangelicals". The Florida Times Union. Retrieved 3 March 2014. * ^ Burnett, Margaret (5 March 2017). "Students observe Lent
Lent
on campus – The Brown and White". The Brown and White. Retrieved 14 March 2017. * ^ _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 under Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI
, eggs and dairy products may be consumed by penitents in Spain and its colonized territories. * ^ "What is Lent
Lent
and why does it last forty days?". The United Methodist
Methodist
Church. Retrieved 24 August 2007. * ^ "The Liturgical Year". The Anglican
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 http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWEASTR.htm * ^ "The Roman Missal ". 2011. p. 113. * ^ Paschales Solemnitatis 38 http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWEASTR.htm * ^ Chilson, Richard (1987). _Catholic Christianity: A Guide to the Way, the Truth, and the Life_. Paulist Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780809128785 . * ^ Geddes, Gordon; Griffiths, Jane (2002). _Christian Belief and Practice: The Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Tradition_. Heinemann. p. 98. ISBN 9780435306915 . * ^ _A_ _B_ "Il Tempo di Quaresima nel rito Ambrosiano" (PDF) (in Italian). Parrocchia S. Giovanna Antida Thouret. Retrieved 9 June 2014. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _ Herbert, Thurston (1910). "Lent". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia
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 Ambrosianus * ^ http://www.antiochian.org/fasting-great-lent * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ James Jeffrey (22 March 2017). "Ethiopia: fasting for 55 days". Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle
. Retrieved 24 March 2017. * ^ "Tsome Nenewe (The Fast of Nineveh)". Minneapolis
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
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 2014. * ^ _A_ _B_ _The Roman and the Lutheran
Lutheran
Observance of Lent_. Luther League of America. 1920. p. 5. * ^ _What is Lent
Lent
and why does it last forty days?_. The United Methodist
Methodist
Church. Retrieved 20 April 2014. Lent
Lent
is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Sundays in Lent
Lent
are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent
Lent
is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. * ^ Kitch, Anne E. (10 January 2003). _The Anglican
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
Methodist
congregations_. Abingdon Press. p. 96. * ^ Fenton, John. "The Holy Season of Lent
Lent
in the Western Tradition". Western Rite of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Retrieved 3 March 2014. * ^ Lent
Lent
& Beyond: Dr. Peter Toon—From Septuagesima to Quadragesima (web site gone, no alternate source found, originally cited 27 August 2010) * ^ _ Jesus
Jesus
Was Literally Three Days and Three Nights in the Grave_, www.logosapostolic.org, retrieved 23 March 2011 * ^ Burke, Daniel (13 April 2011). "Just How Long Did Jesus
Jesus
Stay In the Tomb?". www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. * ^ "Lent—disciplines and practices". Spirit Home. Retrieved 27 August 2010. * ^ "General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 19". Catholicliturgy.com. Retrieved 27 August 2010. * ^ 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. Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
_. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company. * ^ "CIC 1917: text – IntraText CT". * ^ Gregson, David. "Fasting". _EWTN_. Eternal Word Television Network . Retrieved 9 February 2015. * ^ Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution _Paenitemini_ * ^ 1983 Code of Canon Law, canons 1249–1253 * ^ Irish Catholic Bishops\' Conference, _Friday Penance_ * ^ Fasting
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 News_. * ^ "Re: Meatless Friday". * ^ "_Summa Theologica_ Q147a8". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 27 August 2010. * ^ 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 August 2002. * ^ "Baldwin\'s Itinerary Through Wales No. 2 by Giraldus Cambrensis". Gutenberg.org. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 27 August 2010. * ^ "Definition of "collation" – Collins English Dictionary". * ^ _A_ _B_ "Penitential Days – Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong". * ^ _A_ _B_ Code of Canon Law, canons 1249–1253 * ^ "Catholics United for the Faith – Lent
Lent
– Discipline and History – Teaching the Catholic Faith". _Catholics United for the Faith – Catholics United for the Faith is an international lay apostolate founded to help the faithful learn what the Catholic Church teaches_. * ^ Colin B. Donovan, Fast and Abstinence. Retrieved 28 December 2007. * ^ Engber, Daniel (15 March 2006). "Thou Shalt Eat Corned Beef on Friday: Who Sets the Rules on Lent?". _Slate_. Retrieved 13 February 2010. * ^ "The Church\'s Discipline as to Fasting
Fasting
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Communion. Retrieved 3 March 2014. * ^ "Ash Wednesday: What Is Ash Wednesday? How Do We Observe It? Why Should We?". Patheos.com. Retrieved 25 March 2014. * ^ "An Ecofeminist Perspective on Ash Wednesday and Lent
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* ^ Hebden, Keith (3 March 2014). "This Lent
Lent
I will eat no food, to highlight the hunger all around us". _The Guardian_. * ^ DiLallo, Matt (2 March 2014). "Believe it or Not, Catholics Observing Lent
Lent
Save Our Environment". Fool.com. Retrieved 25 March 2014. * ^ Kellow, Juliette (4 March 2014). "Cut out one treat for Lent and your waistline could reap the benefits". _Daily Express_. Retrieved 25 March 2014. * ^ Winston, Kimberly. "After giving up religion, atheists try giving up something else for Lent". Religion News Service. Retrieved 19 March 2013. * ^ "Programmes: Lent
Lent
Talks". _BBC_. * ^ "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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