The Easter Fast or the Fast before the Easter Sunday lasts for a period of 40 days during the Lent period. The Easter Fast is observed by the Christians as a way of following the 40 days fast Jesus Christ observed in the desert during his last days.
Easter Fast begins on Wednesday forty days prior to Easter Sunday and this particular Wednesday is called the Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday or the day of starting of fast is also referred to as the Spy Wednesday, Black Wednesday or the Mad Wednesday. Ash Wednesday falls on a Wednesday between 8th of February to 14th of March. On Ash Wednesday believers are given sanctified ash made by burning the twigs of pussy willow on the previous flower Sunday and are blessed by the saint, then the forty days fast begins.
The Easter fast begins on the Ash Wednesday and from this day Christians observe complete abstinence from milk, meat, egg or alcohol. In olden days, the Easter Fast was so strict that people kept them away from all these foods and did not even puff a smoke in complete forty days. Only a meal a day was eaten and that too was devoid of anything non vegetarian, even butter was restricted and the people solely depended on fruits and vegetables. Later the Christians started taking light foods like soup or bread and ate very simple meal. But today the lent period is more liberal with people and they just staying away from one or two items of food like meat or fish.
The time of Easter fasting or the Lent is a full forty days period and has been started as long as the fourth century. Though many changes have been introduced to the fasting, the forty day fast still seems to be observed by the religious Christians. There is no compulsion for taking the forty days fast and not all Christians observe it.
It is generally believed that Easter Fast is done by the Christians to commemorate the death of Jesus and the fast he observed before he was crucified on the cross. It is also believed that the fast during Lent is done so as to ask for forgiveness from the lord and to thank him for all the blessing he has showered on oneself. Fast is also believed to be a way of turning to the God in time of distress so as to help us out of any problem or uneasiness during the life.
The Lent period ends on the day after the White Saturday night and the people enjoy a holy feast on the Easter Sunday breaking their fast and abstinence of six weeks. Easter is a time for rejoice, a time to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The special day also offers a feast of eggs, meat and fish as a symbol of breaking the fast and the people enjoy the day with food, celebrations and games. The Easter eggs, Easter presents, chocolates and Easter bunnies are an inevitable part of the Great day after about six and a half weeks of fast.