20 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LENT
I find this article fascinating and would like to share this with all of you. It’s from https://www.thefactsite.com/lent-facts/ I edited some of it to be consistent with Catholic teaching. – FR. ADRIAN
Here we’re going to look at 20 interesting facts about Lent!
- Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting. Sundays aren’t included in the 40-day count.
- Since Sundays aren’t included, Lent technically lasts 46 days.
- When Lent started, it was only 36 days. Later, it was changed to 40 days.
- Why is Lent 40 days? The number 40 is a significant number for Christians. Jesus spent 40 days in a desert. Noahhad to wait 40 days for his ark to float. And Moses, along with his followers, traveled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
- Catholics started the tradition of Lent around the year 325, during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread through other Christian denominations.
- Lent comes from the Middle English word “lencten,” which means springtime.
- Lent starts on what’s known as Ash Wednesday. This is when followers spread ashes on their forehead to signal their repentance. The ashes come from burning last year’s palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday.
- One of Lent’s central components is fasting. New Orleans throws a huge party called Mardi Gras on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, aka “Fat Tuesday”. People party in the streets and get fat since they should be fasting and abstaining during Lent.
- In the Catholic tradition, no eating meat from any warm-blooded animal during Lent.
- You CAN eat fish or other cold-blooded animals, which is why you see fast-food restaurants have sales for their fish sandwiches during Lent.
- Besides not eating meat, Christians also abstain themselves from certain vices, whether it’s chocolate or TV or video games or other pleasurable activities. In a sort of paradoxes, some even abstain from sex for 40 days, even though Christians are told to “go forth and multiply.”
- Prayer (a deeper one such as retreats and days of prayer) is another common practice for those practicing Lent. This, along with fasting, helps Christians stay centered in Christ.
- Purple is the official color of Lent, as this represents mourning for Jesus dying on the cross while also celebrating his resurrection with the colors of royalty.
- Lent doesn’t actually end on Easter; it ends on Holy Thursday, the day Jesus had the Last Supper where He instituted Priesthood and the Eucharist (The Mass). Good Friday is when Jesus died on the cross, and on Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead.
- All Catholics aged 18 to 59 FAST ONLY TWICE during Lent – on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics aged 14 and above ABSTAIN FROM MEAT (pork, chicken, beef) every Friday of Lent and all Fridays of the whole year. Outside Lent, however, one may substitute other formsof penance, especiallyworks of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast. (Cf. Canon Law 1249-1253)
- This is also a time for more charity. Catholics have given more than $250 million to feed the hungry during Lent.
- The date for Easter has been set for thousands of years. It all has to do with the full moon of the Paschal or Passover full moon. Easter will fall between March 22 and April 25. There are mathematical formulas used to determine when Easter will fall in any year.
- Because we know the date for every Easter from now until the end of time, we also know the date Lent starts. Just count 46 days (include Sundays) or 40 days (excluding Sundays) from Easter, and you know when Ash Wednesday is.
- Medieval Lenten rules were harder including black fasts; no food at all on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No animal meat or fats. Fish was allowed. No eggs. No dairy products. Wine and beer were allowed. Medieval Catholics subsisted on bread, vegetables and salt. No sexual intercourse and no Sundays off from fasting and abstinence.
- 20. In a study done in 2014, 72% of adults knew what Lent was, and 88% of those participating in Lent were giving up some item of food for 40 days. Chocolate was the number one food most people were willing to give up during Lent.