Lent 2023 will be observed from February 22 to April 8 of this year. Learn its history and meaning and everything you need to know.
What is Lent? When it starts? History, meaning and everything you need to know
Lent 2023 will be observed from February 22 to April 8 of this year. Lent is a period of religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar and marks the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. According to the Bible, Jesus endured Satan’s temptation.
It is a period of sorrow and suffering but also of rejoicing at how Jesus overcame Satan’s temptation and fulfilled God’s will by completely submitting. This ends in a great Easter celebration where he was resurrected on the third day to remain alive to this day.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later.
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- The first rules of fasting were rigid, only one meal a day was allowed in the evening and meat, fish, eggs and butter were prohibited.
- The Eastern church also restricted other foods such as wine, oil, and dairy products.
- In the West, these fasting rules have gradually been relaxed as Roman Catholics dispensed with them during World War II, and now only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday remain as Lenten fasting days.
- However, even so, in some cultures the emphasis on penitential practice and alms persists.
- Catholics and other Christians often choose to pray with self-control and refocus on spiritual matters.
- Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact date of Lent’s origin, the first mentions of the season come from early Christianity, which records the tradition of fasting before Easter.
- It was the church that established the concept of fasting and giving up indulgences such as alcohol and meat during Lent.
- It is believed that these 40 days of fasting before Easter will be clarified at the Council of Nicaea. In fact, the Council of Laodicea has considered the Lenten fast “of strict necessity.”
- The time and duration of Lent vary according to different Christian denominations. Even the way Lent is observed has slight differences in different parts of the world.
How to observe Lent?
- Lent aims to focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving by believers.
- During this time the values of self-reflection, simplicity and sincerity are also emphasized.
- The common idea is to abstain from certain pleasures or luxuries to imitate the temptation that Jesus suffered in the desert.
- Other practices include daily devotions and praying during the Lenten calendar to draw closer to God.
- Here the overcoming of Jesus is celebrated and believers take his example to fight against their own temptations that prevent them from following the word of God.
- This year, Lent takes place from Wednesday, February 22 to Thursday, April 6, 2023, while Holy Week takes place on Sunday, April 9.
- The week before Easter Sunday is called Holy Week.
- Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, where he received palm branches at his feet.
- Holy Wednesday recognizes Judas’ plan to betray Jesus.
- Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples.
- Holy Thursday is the last day of Lent.
Tuesday of Carnival
Shrove Tuesday originated from the word shrive (meaning “to absolve”). It is the last day before Lent. Shrove Tuesday was a day of self-examination when Christians considered what sins they needed to repent of and what changes in their life or spiritual growth they would focus on during the fast.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The day gets its name from the traditional blessing of ashes taken after the burning of palm branches (or crosses made from palm leaves) from the Palm Sunday celebrations of the previous year.
Palm Sunday commemorates the beginning of Holy Week, which is the last week of Lent before Easter. On Palm Sunday, Christians everywhere remember the triumphant arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem.
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