Lent (Christian)

What is Lent?

In Christian tradition, Lent recalls when Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray before carrying out his public ministry. Jesus is the central figure in Christianity and recognised by most Christian denominations as the son of God. It is a particularly solemn period of time for many Christians.

When is Lent?

For most Christians, Lent begins each year on the holy day of Ash Wednesday, which is 1 March 2017 until 15 April 2017. Lent lasts until Easter Saturday for most branches of Christianity. However, the Catholic Church ends Lent on the evening of Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) with the remaining period until Easter Sunday evening (26 March 2016) being holy days known as the Easter Triduum.

What do people do during Lent?

Practices and observances throughout Lent vary according to the branch of Christianity concerned, and the beliefs of the individual.

Many Christians will choose to fast or abstain throughout Lent. This may involve giving up certain 'luxuries' such as coffee or smoking, or may involve complete fasting from any food or drink other than at certain times of the day. Some holy days such as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are considered by some Christians to be days when meat should not be eaten.

Lent and Easter are times of additional prayer and holy days, when Christians are encouraged to attend extra church services, some of which do not fall on weekends.

Lent is also a time for 'almsgiving' which involves giving to others and can include making charitable donations and participating in charitable events.

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