what is lent
You’re probably hearing a lot of talk about people giving stuff up for Lent right about now. What is Lent and why are so many people sacrificing Gossip Girl and chocolate? Here’s the lowdown.
As you probably know, Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins, then rose from the dead into Heaven. The day he rose from the dead is Easter, and Lent happens during the 40 days before that.
During that time, a lot of Christians sacrifice something in preparation for Jesus’s rising as a form of repentance. (Something else you may be hearing a lot about now, Fat Tuesday–or Mardi Gras, is celebrated as a sort of “last hurrah” before giving up a lot of creature comforts for Lent. Check out more on Mardi Gras here!)
The idea of Lent is to give something up that you routinely enjoy (so giving up algebra homework or spinach doesn’t really count). Chocolate is usually a biggie around this time of year — which is a toughie, because it’s also Cadbury egg season! Soda, French fries, meat (especially on Fridays), gossip rags, and your favorite shows (so long for now, Jersey Shore!) are popular sacrifices as well. Recently, a lot of girls have started giving up texting, tweeting, and Facebook for Lent, too. You might also remember a certain movie called 40 Days and 40 Nights—Josh Hartnett gave up sex!
Why does Lent last 40 days and 40 nights? There are quite a few Biblical references to 40-day periods: remember Noah’s ark and all that rain? That lasted 40 days and 40 nights. It’s also believed that the Hebrews marched through the desert for 40 years, that Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai, and that Jesus fasted for 40 days while being tempted by the devil. It’s also believed that when Jesus died on Good Friday (also known as the Passion of the Christ), he spent 40 hours in his tomb before rising on Easter Sunday.
Lent starts tomorrow, Ash Wednesday (you’ll probably see some people with black smudges on their foreheads!) and will last until Easter on April 8.
If you observe the holiday, what is Lent to you? What are you giving up for 2012 Lent? What would be the hardest thing to let go of for 40 days? Let us know in the comments!
what is lent