Lent is a Christain holiday primarily celebrated by Catholics and Methodists that is hallmarked by prayer and fasting. The holiday lasts 40 days. This year the holiday starts on Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday, all the way up to April 3, Holy Thursday. The holiday mainly acts as a time for people to prepare for Easter, a holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Throughout the entirety of Lent, Christains will choose a particular item to “give up” for Lent such as coffee, sugar, social media, and the list goes on. These things are given up in order to help Christains focus on the things of God rather than things of the world during this period of time.
Besides giving up a particular item or activity for Lent, many separate denominations of Christianity celebrate Lent through doing other traditions. These traditions can include excluding meat from your diet on Fridays, allowing yourself to indulge in the thing you gave up on Sundays to signify a day of rest, or making deliberate acts of kindness for each day of Lent.
Junior Chloe Each says, “Lent is a very free holiday in the sense that it is applied to each person differently. What is a struggle for me and hinders my faith will be different than someone else’s so the main rule is just to focus on God during this time.”
Senior Maria Almeida has been celebrating Lent for her whole life and she says, “Personally, Lent means rebirth in some type of way.”
Ash Wednesday kicks it for many Christains through the putting of ashes on your forehead in the shape of a cross. In some traditions they keep the ashes on their foreheads to signify how they have been marked by Christ and other traditions wash them off to symbolize the washing away of sins.
Almeida says, “So it’s like an exchange. In order to get peace, you exchange something that you really like in order to cleanse your spirit.”
Almeida has decided to give up candy this year for Lent, and while it may seem like a surface thing to give up, the reason is a little deeper. “I feel like candy for me as like, a comfort. Whenever I’m feeling bad or I did something that I wasn’t supposed to do, it makes me feel comfortable, and giving up candy means that I’m that giving up the things I did wrong in the past.”
Lent represents Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity during his time in the desert where he fasted 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4). Despite popular belief, Lent is something that can be celebrated by all Christains, not just Catholics.
“All Christians are free to celebrate Lent. Rules are more strictly followed under Catholicism but it is not exclusive, says Each.
Another belief that has been floating around is that you must partake in Lent in order to be a Christain.
Each says, “There are no qualifications or boxes you must check off in order to be a Christian. Christianity is all about love and compassion so whether or not someone celebrates this holiday will not define their faith.”
Overall Lent is a period of time used to grow closer in your faith.
Each says, “I celebrate Lent to give myself a period of reflection. It is a time of spiritual refreshing and gives us an opportunity to reconnect with our faith which can be lost through the business of day to day life.”