Lent Frequently Asked Questions

Lent is a religious observance that commemorates the 40-days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert being tempted by Satan. The religious period which starts exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday is observed by millions of people around the world.

During the 40 days of Lent, excluding the six Sundays, devotees abstain from food and other commodities of pleasure to show their devotion and love for God.

People have a lot of questions about Lent, so here is a comprehensive list of Lent frequently asked questions.

Where Lent come from?

Although there are no mentions of Lent in the Bible. The religious festival commemorates the 40-days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert in accordance with the accounts recorded in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

While the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus being tempted by Satan, it is in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that the details of the temptation are fleshed out. In each of these accounts, Jesus spent 40 days without food.

Where is Lent mentioned in the Bible?

There are no mentions of Lent in the Bible. It did not begin during Biblical times. However, according to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church, Lent was first mentioned in 325 AD and did not become a tradition until the 4th Century AD.

Where did Lent start?

According to historians Lent ended up becoming a tradition in the 4th Century AD as Christianity became more popular in the West. It wasn’t prevalent during Biblical times. Therefore, it is hard to point out in which region or where exactly did Lent start.

LENT FAQs: Origin, Significance & Observance
Lent Frequently Asked Questions: Origin, Significance & Observance

Where is Lent celebrated?

Both Eastern and Western Churches observe Lent, however, they calculate the 40 days and when Lent starts differently. While Western Churches exclude Sundays as they celebrate the day of Christ’s resurrection, Eastern Churches include them.

According to Western Churches, Lent officially starts on the 7th Wednesday before Eastern Sunday, also known as Ash Wednesday. On the other hand, according to Eastern Churches, Lent starts on the Monday 7 weeks before Easter and ends exactly 9 days before Easter. 

Where does Lent originate from?

Theologists and historians alike haven’t been able to establish where Lent originated from. However, there are three prevailing theories that shine some light on Lent’s origin. According to the first theory, Lent was created in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea.

The second theory insists that Lent is based on an Egyptian Christian post-theophany fast. And according to the third theory, the origin of Lent is a combination of origins syncretized around the Council Nicea.

Where does Lent start in the Bible?

There is no mention of Lent being celebrated or started in the Bible.

Where did Lent begin?

It is believed that Lent was created at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

How did Lent start?

Lent is a Christian religious observance that commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert while simultaneously enduring temptation from Satan. This account was recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

When does Lent start?

Lent starts exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday.

When does Lent end?

Lenten fasting ends on Holy Saturday or the day before Easter Sunday.

The Lenten fasting ends on Holy Saturday or the day before Easter Sunday.

Although Holy Saturday lands 46 days after Ash Wednesday, it is considered the 40th day of the 40-day Lenten fast because the six Sundays that lie between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday are not calculated.

However, according to the Roman Catholic rulebook, Lent ends two days before on Holy Thursday.  

When is Lent over in 2022?

Lent officially ended on 16th April 2022, the day before Easter Sunday.

When Lent start in 2022?

Lent began on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.  

When does Lent begin?

The exact date on which Lent begins changes every year as it follows a liturgical calendar. Lent usually begins on Ash Wednesday which is approximately 46 days before Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday gets its name from the traditional burning of Palm Branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations. Ash Wednesday is preceded by Shrove Tuesday which is commonly referred to as Pancake Day in the UK and as Mardi Gras in other parts of the world.

Significance of Lent

In Christianity, Lent is a religious observance that commemorates the 40-days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert while simultaneously fighting off temptation and Satan. Many people observe this holy period by fasting, sacrificing, and almsgiving.

Lent takes place exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday and even includes the Holy Week. During Lent, devotees can do the following things-

  1. Celebrating Lent helps us commemorate Jesus’ exodus into the desert and the sacrifice he made to save us from our sins. Therefore, in order to commemorate His ultimate sacrifice, we must sacrifice luxury for the Lent period. For instance, giving up chocolate, coffee, junk food, or social media for a month.
  2. In addition to weekly Sunday prayers, attend mass/liturgy as much as possible.
  3. As we all know reconciliation or confession is a wonderful way to atone for our sins and reunite ourselves with Jesus Christ. Therefore, during the holy period of Lent try going to confession on a regular basis.

How Lent is calculated?

The beginning of Lent depends upon the date of Easter. Easter follows a lunar calendar and is usually celebrated on a Sunday that follows the first full moon after March 21, the spring equinox.

Therefore, Easter Sunday usually lands between March 22 and April 25. Easter is deciding factor of all the other movable celebrations in the Church calendar.

How is Lent celebrated?

Lent is celebrated all over the world and different countries have different ways of celebrating the 40-day long period. For instance, in Denmark, the last Sunday before Lent officially begins is known as ‘Fastelavn.’ On this day children dress up in costumes and eat cream or jam-filled buns.

In Greece, the first day of Lent is a national holiday. People in Greece normally go to the countryside or the beach for a picnic. In Goa, India, Lent begins with carnival-like festivities which include dancing, music, and feasting, finally culminating in a Mass. 

How is Lent observed?              

Historically, the main focus of observing Lent was on self-examination and self-denial in preparation for Easter. Christians usually abstained from eating food in the earliest demonstrations of this process. However, over the years the rules governing fasting have been relaxed significantly.

For example, in Catholicism, only Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent are considered fasting days. People either practice refraining from eating meat or choose to eat only one full meal or two small meals while fasting.

In contrast, Orthodox Christians observe Lent by refraining from eating meat, dairy products, and eggs. While fasting they can only eat fish because historically it was seen as less luxurious than red meat.

How many days is Lent?

Lent is celebrated for 40 days, not including Sundays. So if we want to exactly how long is lent, then the answer is, technically Lent is 46 days long.

According to the United Methodist Church, Lent is celebrated for 40 days because it gives people time to prepare and focus, reminiscent of Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he started his public ministry.

What does Lent mean?

Lent is derived from the English word ‘lengthen.’ The days begin to get longer in spring when Lent is usually observed.

What is Lent celebrated for?

Lent is a time Christians set aside each year to remember the love of God that is poured out through Jesus Christ on the cross in His death; and His defeat of death, sin, and His resurrection that brings Eternal life to you. The season of Lent reminds Christians to be repentant and also reminds them of their sin and morality.

What are the 3 things we do during Lent?

The three most important things to do during lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Why do we fast during Lent? 

In Christianity, Lent is a 40-day long period in which Christians observe prayers, fasting, and almsgiving. During this period people prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. They also seek the lord by reading Sacred Scripture, serve by giving alms, and practice self-control by fasting.

There are several reasons behind fasting during Lent-

  1. It teaches us an important lesson in spiritual discipline. By fasting we exercise our spiritual muscles as we refrain from indulging in a basic physical desire such as eating, we are refusing to be dominated or controlled by the needs of our bodies.
  2. During a busy day, we all forget to think much about God. However, when we are fasting, we have to be alert and in control of our instincts, and this reminds us to think about God and the sacrifices he made for us.
  3. Fasting can be looked at as a form of offering to show our devotion to our beliefs. By denying ourselves to enjoy something we love, we are declaring that there is something more important than purely physical pleasure in our life.

Why is purple the color of Lent?

Purple is considered the color of Lent because according to the Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese, it reflects the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This practice originated from the Old Testament and Jewish culture and it resembles humility and obedience to God.

Purple is also considered the color of Royalty and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, he is recognized as our King.

Is Lent considered a season of happiness and joy?

Lent is considered a time of somber reflection, grief, and sorrow. It is considered a time of joy as well because during this time we reject the attitudes and resist the desires that distort our love for God. It prepares us for God’s loving embrace and communion with one another.

Where do the ashes for Ash Wednesday come from?

The ashes for Ash Wednesday are normally made from burning the palm branches that were blessed during the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

Holy water is sprinkled on the ashes and incense is added before the ashes are applied to our forehead in the sign of the cross. This symbolizes our need for ongoing repentance.

What is the difference between fasting and abstinence during the Lenten period?

While fasting consists of limiting food intake throughout the day, abstinence refers to abstaining from food altogether.

Is Ash Wednesday considered one of the Holy Days of Obligation?

Ash Wednesday is not considered a Holy Day of Obligation. According to present-day Catholicism, the following days are considered the Holy Days of Obligation-

  1. Solemnity of Mary, January 1*
  2. Ascension of Jesus, May 26 — Celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday*
  3. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15*
  4. Solemnity of All Saints, November 1
  5. Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8

What is the significance of ash during Lent?

In many religions and in accordance with people’s personal wishes, people get cremates when they die, turning them into ashes. Therefore, we turn into ashes when we die.

Ashes during Lent remind us of our own morality and when we come face to face with it we become more willing to get our lives in order and start focusing on really important things.

Why do people give up things during Lent?

Lent commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fighting Satan and earthly temptations, during this time he also didn’t eat anything.

Therefore, when we observe Lent, people give up a pleasurable activity or food item to clear their minds from desires of material possession and to derive true happiness from faith and Jesus Christ.

By practicing self-control and discipline, people can focus their idle energy on building a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why do some Christian denominations give up red meat during lent?

During Lent many people choose meat to be their sacrifice because historically meat was considered a symbol of luxury and wealth. More importantly, people don’t eat meat on Fridays because it is seen as a day of penance as Jesus Christ died on that day.

What are the three pillars of Lenten observance?

The three pillars of Lenten observance are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

  1. Prayer- It is advised during Lent that people should pray more often to get closer to God. We can pray for the God of the world, for our loved one’s safety, and for the strength to live out our baptismal promises more fully.
  2. Fasting- Fasting during Lenten observance is a means of developing self-control. The physical hunger that we encounter acts as a metaphor for the hunger and longing we feel for God.
  3. Almsgiving- You can observe Lent by showing gratitude to God for your wealth and prosperity by donating food, clothing, and other resources to the poor and needy.

How many meals can Catholics eat during Lent?

In Catholicism, Catholics between the ages of 18 to 59 are asked to make the special sacrifice of fasting. During these days, Catholics are allowed to eat one full meal and two light meals with no snacks in between.

Are liquids allowed during fasting?

During Lenten fasting, you are allowed to consume liquids at any time. However, no solid food should be consumed between meals.

Shall I continue with my Lenten practices on Sundays?

Even though there are 46 days between the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday and its end on Holy Saturday, Lent is usually considered a 40-day long religious observance. This is because Sundays are considered the day of God because on this day we celebrate the resurrection. However, it is up to you, if you want to continue with your Lenten practices even on a Sunday.

Naomi Hills
Naomi Hills

God has given me the gift to read the signs, interpret the dreams, decode the angel numbers since birth. Through rigorous practice and application, my gifts have been fine-tuned. Now, I use my gifts solely to help those distressed souls who have lost all hopes, those who have been left alone to fend for themselves, those whom the system doesn’t care anymore, those whom the mainstream science has ignored.

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