The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday and for 2019, the date is Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Last year, it happened to fall on Valentine’s Day.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which is when many Catholics and Christians prepare for the celebration of Easter. This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 21, 2019. Lent is believed to be a time for sacrifice as it’s the season of penance and prayer, which is why many fast, give up meat or rid themselves of delicious treats. It’s almost looked at as a sort of “spring-cleaning” for your soul.
Previously, Project Britain stated that the Christian church no longer enforces a strict fasting. Project Britain says that Lent is a time when Christians attempt to overcome their own faults because they believe sins are what led Jesus Christy to be crucified.
So, how are the days of Lent calculated? AboutReligion.com has reported that Lent is 40 days long, but “there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and Easter.” Sundays could not be included in this count because they were days to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. Also because of this, Christians were not allowed to fast on those days.
Lent ends on Holy Thursday, which is the day before Easter, so this year, it ends on Thursday, April 18, 2018. Because Easter lands on a different date each year, so does Lent’s beginning and ending date. Many people commit themselves to fasting or giving up certain luxuries in their lives, as a form of penance for Lent. If you are trying to decide what you would like to give up this year, here are some traditional, as well as modern, ideas on what to give up for the holiday season:
– Social Media
– Talking Politics
– Fast Food
– Watching TV
So, why do a lot of people abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent? The reason that many give up meat on Fridays during this time period is due to the Biblical canon 1251, which reads, “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” according to Newsweek.
Ash Wednesday follows Mardi Gras, which is also known as Fat Tuesday, the end of Carnival. Both the imposition of the ashes and Lent are included in pre-Christian traditions and religions for the holiday. So, today, many may see people wearing crosses marked on their foreheads in black or dark gray ash.
According to The Mirror, the date that Lent begins each year varies, but always starts in either late February or early March. This is because the Easter holiday date is determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon. When it comes to Western Christianity, Easter will fall between March 22 and April 25, always.