Lent is a time when people fast and ask forgiveness for their sins. It is a time when people abstain from eating meat, smoking and drinking. Fasting is observed for 40 days and Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of lent. Many people sacrifice their favorite things as Jesus had done during 40 days of fasting. During these 40 days of Lent, the Sundays are not included because Sunday is considered as the day of Resurrection. These 40 days of Lent are observed as holy days.
‘’Lent’’ comes from a Germanic word and it means spring. It originated in Babylonian region. It was later adopted by Christians when the Roman Empire embraced Christianity as its religion. According to an old mythological story the origin of Lent began when Semeramis who was the wife of Nimrod, ruler of Babylon got impregnated supernaturally by the Sun god. She was blessed with a baby boy known asTammuz. Once when Tammuz was hunting, he got killed by a boar. It was from this day that Semeramis mourned for 40 days after which Tammuz came back from the dead. Therefore, these 40 days of mourning in the Biblical book is known to be Lent.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of 40 days of fasting and Easter Sunday marks the end of it. The origin of Lent goes way back from the time of Jesus. He observed fast in order to free the world from pain, sin and suffering. There are a couple of activities during Lent that people do. A few of them are:
Making Pretzels- During Lent, pretzels are served as snacks. They are made of water, salt and flour. Since Catholics refrain from eating eggs, cream, cheese, meat and milk this is the only snack that is served during Lent. Pretzels are made in the shape of arms that are crossed together for prayers.
Making Slip Bags- In this activity, people make a paper bag and slip it in with papers. Each paper has good things written on it. Later a prayer is performed that marks the end of the day. Every day people write good deeds on papers and this activity is carried on.
Making Bread Dough- Making bread dough is also an interesting activity during Lent. People make crucifixes which are baked, sprayed with color and painted. These crucifixes are usually given as gifts and can also be hung around the house.
Special Candles- Special candles are made during Lent. These candles signify the arrival of Christ who came to glorify the world. Lent candles differ in color but ideally three purple candles and one pink or red candle is lit. The purple color signifies remorse and as well as hope. Other than purple, many churches also use blue candles which signifies hope. The red or pink candle is kept aside to be lit for the third Sunday of Lent.
Lent days are considered to be holy days. These days are observed to deepen the faith in God and ask for forgiveness. It’s not a time of celebration but people start making preparations for Easter. Children and adults make Easter baskets which includes candies, chocolates and Easter bunny.
Lent is a time to strengthen your belief in God and do good deeds. It’s a time when your faith is tested in God. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life, died and was buried. He rose on the third day and resurrected into Heaven. Therefore, Ash Wednesday is the beginning and holy Saturday concludes the end of Lent.