Lent 2016 begins on 10th February and ends on 26th March
Lent is the time of fasting and abstinence concluding to the banquet of Easter, bringing to mind Jesus' 40-day fast in the rough countries. Catholic Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends earlier than the twilight of Masses of Holy Thursday.
The word Lent originates from a Germanic root meaning Spring but is more frequently connected with the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday. It was initiated in the Babylonian pagan religious conviction, but was looped into Christianity when the Roman Empire accepted Christianity as its authorized religion
Here’s how it started. According to ritual Semeramis, the wife of Nimrod the King of Babylon, asserted she had been supernaturally impregnated by the Sun god and gave birth to Tammuz. Someday while hunting Tamuz was slaughtered by a wild boar. Semeramis lamented for 40 days, at the conclusion of which Tammuz was apparently transported back from the dead. She stated publicly herself as Queen of Heaven, established a priesthood to worship her son and stated its head priest flawless, and memorialized her grief in a yearly 40 day period of defiance. It was the world’s foremost imitation of the Biblical story of the Redeemer and developed into a mother-child sect that was copied in more or less every pagan legend.
Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has altered over the years, but its reason has for all time been the identical: self-examination and remorse, verified by self abstinence, in preparation for Easter. Early church father Irenaus of Lyons noted down such a phase in the initial days of the church, but back then it survived just two or three days, not the 40 observed these days.
In 325, the Council of Nicea talked about a 40-day Lenten period of fasting, but it's uncertain whether its primary goal was just for new Christians getting ready for Baptism, but it soon included the entire Church.
How faithfully the churches tot up those 40 days differed based on locality. In the East, one only fasted on weekdays. The western church's Lent was one week shorter, but incorporated Saturdays. However in both regions, the adherence was both stringent and stern. Only one foodstuff was used a day, by the sunset. There was to be no meat, fish, or animal foodstuffs eaten.
Until the 600s, Lent started on Quadragesima (Fortieth) Sunday, but Gregory the Great shifted it to a Wednesday, now identified as Ash Wednesday, to have the accurate figure of 40 days in Lent—not including Sundays, which were actually buffet days. Gregory, who is regarded as the minister of the medieval papacy, is also accredited with the ritual that provides the day its forename. As Christians approach to the church for clemency, Gregory manifested their foreheads with ashes bringing in their mind the biblical sign of regret (sackcloth and ashes) and death.
By the 800s, some Lenten activities were turning out to be more comfortable. First, Christians were permitted to eat after 3 p.m. By the 1400s, it was noon. Ultimately, a variety of foods (like fish) were acceptable, and in 1966 the Roman Catholic church only limited fast days to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It must be observed, though, that observance in Eastern Orthodox churches are still pretty stringent.
Lent candles have their own significance in the observance of Lent. The burning candles stands for the arrival of Christ as the illumination of the world. The shades of the candles can differ. Conventionally, three purple candles and one rose-colored or pink candle are used. The purple indicates that Lent is a period of regret as well as hope. Many churches use blue candles instead of purple ones to highlight the positive hope of the period. A candle is lit on the first Sunday of Lent with an additional one lit on every following Sunday. The blissfully colored pink candle is set aside for the third Sunday of Lent, Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, which actually refers to "rejoice" in Latin, is the initial word of the Introit for that Sunday:
Several Christians append an exact explanation to the four candles. The first candle, or the Prophet Candle, stands for the optimism and expectation of Christ's incarnication as forecasted at so many places in the Old Testament. The second candle recalls how Christ was born in modest style, in the trivial village of Bethlehem. Therefore this candle is often referred to as the Bethlehem Candle. The third candle is identified as the Shepherds' Candle. It brings to mind the joy of the shepherds when they left after having seen the Christ-child in the stable. The fourth candle is the Angels' Candle. It take us back to the blissful crowd that declared the good news of our Savior's birth.
There are conventionally forty days in Lent which are highlighted by fasting, together from foods and revelry, and by other actions of abstinence. The three conventional rituals to be taken up with new strength for the period of Lent are prayer (honesty in the direction of God), fasting (honesty in the direction of self), and almsgiving (honesty in the direction of fellow citizen).
A lot of contemporary Protestants believe the commemoration of Lent to be a option, instead of a compulsion. They can make a decision to give up a preferred food or drink (e.g. chocolate, alcohol) or doings (e.g., watching cinema, playing games, etc.) for Lent, or they may as an alternative engage in a Lenten restraint for example working for a NGO. Roman Catholics can as well celebrate Lent in this approach adding to the food limits mentioned above, although this is no more obligatory connecting to the risk of mortal sin.