Although we still feel like we are in the cold, dark depths of winter, the days are slowly getting longer heralding the impending arrival of spring
Food should be on our minds for the next few months as we head into Lent as Easter is just around the corner.But how the fasting season of Lent is intrinsically linked to spring – and why do we use the 40 days to test our willpower?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Christian period, from all the key dates, to the best things to give up for Lent
Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, has been observed by the British for centuries Its exact date changes every year, as it is determined by the dates of Easter But it’s always the next day Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day, and it always falls in February or March This year, it takes place today, February 17th
In 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Monsignor Justin Welby, suggested that Easter fall on the same date every year The plan, which would schedule the Christian holiday on the same Sunday every year, has been well received by parents and parents alike. schools, but angered some traditionalists
Currently Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox This means it can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25 Archbishop Welby said Easter is most likely to be set for the second or third Sunday in April
The name Ash Wednesday comes from the practice of either marking a cross on a practitioner’s forehead with ash, or sprinkling ash on his forehead, which would have been ritualized by Pope Urban II as early as 1091
The Catholic and Methodist churches use the ashes of blessed palm branches during the Palm Sunday service the previous year, while the Church of England says the ashes “ may be made ” from ashes from the previous year
When the ashes are placed on the forehead of the devotee, the words “ Repent and believe in the gospel ” or “ Remember that you are dust and you will turn back to dust ” are traditionally said.
Sometimes the mark is left on the forehead to show that they are carrying the sign of the cross in the world At other services, the ashes are washed as a sign that the worshiper has been cleansed from his sins
Often the color violet is used in churches throughout Lent Associated with mourning, and therefore the suffering of the crucifixion, it can be seen on curtains and altar fronts The color is also symbolic of royalty and celebrates resurrection and sovereignty
As Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the date of Christian observance changes each year, determined by the March equinox and the celebration of Easter
This year, the fasting season begins Wednesday February 17 and ends Saturday April 3, the Saturday before Easter Sunday Although there are still 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, the six Sundays are not counted as fasting days, due to the Christian calendar assigning this particular day of the week to the holidays.
Some people fast throughout Lent, as a reflection of Jesus’ sacrifice in the Judean Desert Some Christians will only fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday
However, many people, even those who do not attend church, choose to give up a particular vice. Here are some of the more popular options:
Instead of giving up chocolate, soda or crisps, many others use Lent as a time to help others Hundreds of people participate in the Lent Positive Deeds Challenge, as another way to praise God Participants perform a positive act for each of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday These “ positive acts ” can include calling someone who is alone, donating to a good cause , clean up after dinner and let someone walk past you in a supermarket queue
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a 40-day period (except Sunday) that precedes Easter in the Christian calendar This year, Easter falls on Sunday, April 4
Christians who observe Lent use it as a time of prayer and penance By observing Lent, Christians remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who retired into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days
Pancakes are traditionally eaten on the eve of Ash Wednesday to consume rich, gourmet foods like eggs and milk before the start of the 40-day Lent fasting season.
The English word Lent has no connection with the practice of fasting: it is actually a shortened form of the Old English word ‘lencten’, which means ‘spring’
Related to the ancient Germanic root word “laŋgo-“, which means “long”, many believe that the word Lent is related to the lengthening of the days during the season In fact, the Anglo-Saxon name for March – the month in which Lent usually falls – was “ lenctentid ”, which means “ springtide ”
However, as the fasting season leading up to Easter is always in the spring, the word Lent soon became intrinsically linked to 40 days of penance.
In Ashbourne, Derbyshire, players typically spend Ash Wednesday to wrap up the annual Royal Shrovetide football match The two-day event, which begins on Shrove Tuesday, pits the Up’ards against the Down’ards in an attempt to score in goals spaced three miles apart in the town of Peak District
Royal Shrovetide Football has been played in Ashbourne almost every year since the 17th century This year, however, the game will not be able to continue due to the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place
In southern Germany it is a tradition for people to wash their wallets in fountains to bring good luck on Ash Wednesday They say that anyone who washes their wallet will never see it empty
In Iceland, children dress up in costumes on Ash Wednesday and sing in shops in exchange for sweets and treats
Traditionally, children would collect the ashes in small bags and then were challenged to pin them on other people’s clothes without them noticing
Each year, many of the 18 billion Muslims observe Ramadan, the annual period of fasting, prayer and giving to charity
Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad received the last part of a series of revelations from God, which became the Qur’an, during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month of Ramadan
Adepts mark this holiest month of the year, with a period of self-denial and purification Those who observe the fast are to refrain from all food or drink – as well as from smoking and sex – between sunrise and sunset for a month
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Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent), Lent
Ebene News – GB – Lent 2021: how the test of will is linked to the lengthening of the days