What is Lent and why can we hold it?

What is Lent and why can we hold it?

(Photo: Unsplash/Grant Whitty)

Lent is a standard interval within the Church calendar which precedes Easter. This the story …

Origin of the phrase Lent

The English phrase ‘Lent’ just isn’t discovered within the Bible. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase lencten which is the origin of the phrases Lenten and lengthen. Lenten was a historic phrase for the season of spring when the times lengthen. The trendy time period Lent is brief for Lenten. Lenten continues to be used as an adjective, equivalent to if individuals discuss a Lenten quick, or a Lenten devotional, or a Lenten course. In fashionable tradition it’s a time for giving one thing up. But what are it is biblical origins?

Origins of Lent

The Early Church centered on marking the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus via prayer, repentance and fasting, and this developed into 40 days of preparation earlier than what we name Easter. By the fourth century AD, Lent had grow to be regular observe. The concept of 40 days of self-discipline, was based mostly on the time which Jesus spent within the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:13 and Luke 4:1–13). All three accounts say that Jesus fasted for 40 days.

The biblical significance of forty

The quantity forty is a major biblical quantity. In Genesis, the flood was after 40 days and nights of rain (Genesis 7:12, 17). Moses and the Hebrews spent 40 years within the wilderness (Deuteronomy 29:5) after they escaped Egypt. Moses fasted for 40 days on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28). Jonah gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).

In the New Testament Jesus spent 40 days fasting within the wilderness, and later Jesus spent 40 days after the resurrection earlier than his ascension (Acts 1:3).

In reality in lots of languages, the phrase used for Lent comes from the Latin Quadragesima that means fortieth together with Y Grawys in Welsh, Cuaresma in Spanish, Carême in French, and Quaresima in Italian.

When does Lent begin and end?

When Lent begins will depend on how the 40 days are counted. In the western Catholic and Protestant custom Sundays are excluded from Lent, so Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which in 2024 falls on 14th February, and ends on Holy Saturday. In the Eastern Orthodox custom church buildings embrace Sundays in Great Lent that means it ends on Palm Sunday. The final week of Lent is known as Holy Week, which is the run as much as Easter.


Fasting is a biblical precept. Many of the primary Christians had been from a Jewish background, and early Christians noticed Jewish quick days. In the Gospel in keeping with Matthew, Jesus provides educating about fasting and says to his disciples “When you quick…” (Matthew 6:16-18), not in case you quick. In German the phrase for Lent, Fastenzeit, means fasting time.

Fasting doesn’t essentially imply consuming completely nothing. Historically, and nonetheless in some historic Christian traditions, fasting meant abstaining from meat (however not fish) and animal merchandise throughout Lent. This led to the custom of utilizing leftover eggs, and fats, which had been generally forbidden throughout Lent.

These had been made into pancakes earlier than Lent began, therefore Pancake Day. Orthodox Christians nonetheless typically abstain from meat and dairy merchandise throughout Lent, and there are sometimes particular fasting menus in eating places and resorts throughout Lent in Orthodox nations. Catholic church buildings typically hand over taking part in the organ throughout Lent.

These days many individuals quick, or hand over, a specific luxurious or behavior equivalent to chocolate, alcohol, smoking, tv or social media.

Lenten disciplines

Some Christians take up a Lenten non secular self-discipline, equivalent to studying a day by day devotional, or following forty days of prayer for a specific problem. Some church buildings do a particular Bible examine sequence throughout Lent, and in some locations native church buildings get collectively and do inter-church Bible research, typically organised by the native Churches Together group.

Whilst Lent just isn’t explicitly talked about within the Bible, the rules of fasting, self-discipline and prayer are biblical, and many individuals discover Lent a useful observe to do alone, or with others.


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