What is Lent?

In the church season, Lent is the six week period leading up to Easter Sunday.

The actual length is 46 days – however, 40 of these are fasting days and six are Sundays.

Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter".

The period of Lent is seen as a time of solemn observance and preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

When is Lent in 2023?

Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

It will come to an end on Thursday, April 6, 2023, with the following day known as Good Friday – the day on which the Crucifixion of Christ is commemorated.

Why do we give things up during Lent?

Many Christians will use Lent to commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits or luxuries.

The fasting and abstinence is meant to mirror the experience of Jesus Christ and his experience of fasting in the desert.  It may also be done as a spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

Traditionally, Christians would fast during the 40 days of Lent, meaning they would have only one full meal a day and two small snacks.

However, nowadays Christians choose to abstain from something in particular – like a food item or luxury like chocolate or caffeine, or a particular habit like drinking or smoking.  (Often the money saved is then donated to charity.)

In today’s technological age, others choose to give up social media or even using their phones.

We also practice Lent to bond more closely with fellow Christians who are on the same journey, not only in our local church but also around the world.

Lent is also about preparing to renew our baptismal vows.

What other things can you do during Lent?

Alternatively, those observing Lent will also aim to perform one positive act for each of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

These "positive acts" can include calling up someone who is alone, donating to a worthy cause, and letting someone go ahead of you in a supermarket queue.