Initially the word LENT simply meant spring, and later became associated with the fast. The English word “lent” derives from the Germanic root *langat-tin – today’s german “Lenz” – for Spring (specifically Old English lencten; also the Anglo-Saxon name for March – lenct – as the main part of Lent, before Easter, usually occurred in March).

In Western Christianity, Lent is the season from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.

There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. If this applies also to the non-counted sundays during this period is a matter of interpretation…

Fasting during Lent was more severe in ancient times than today. Socrates Scholasticus reports that in some places, all animal products were strictly forbidden, while others will permit fish, others permit fish and fowl, others prohibit fruit and eggs, and still others eat only bread. In some places, believers abstained from food for an entire day, others took only one meal each day, while others abstained from all food until 3 o’clock. In most places, however, the practice was to abstain from eating until the evening and then a small meal without meat or alcohol was eaten.

During the early Middle Ages; meat, eggs and dairy products were generally proscribed.


One thought on “LENT

  1. It was amazing, today I had to be in town for a case and there is a tiny wee chapel in the very center of town, about a minute away from the Christchurch Cathedral. At around 12.15 a service started to commemorate Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent.

    When I passed by it was amazing to see how this tiny chapel was so packed with people giving up their lunch breaks to go and attend the service. The chapel was filled and so was the hall of the chapel, people were siting on the floor: homeless next to lawyer and doctor, all praying the same prayer:

    ‘Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one
    for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

    It was so amazing witnessing this community spirit. For the first time in my life, this prayer, which I grew up with but always felt as a bit of ritual gave me goose bumps. Right in the middle of town people from the most extreme walks of life joined together in this prayer, it was beautiful.


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