11 Facts About Lent


In Eastern Churches, Lent is observed continuously without interruption for 40 days starting on Clean Monday and ending on Lazarus Saturday before Holy Week.

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The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, simple living, and self-denial.

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In most Lent-observing denominations, the last week of Lent coincides with Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday.

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Since 1970, in the Roman Rite Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on the evening of Maundy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

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Period of Lent observed in the Eastern Catholic Churches corresponds to that in other churches of Eastern Christianity that have similar traditions.

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The carnival celebrations which in many cultures traditionally precede Lent are seen as a last opportunity for excess before Lent begins.

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However, until 1741, meat and lacticinia were otherwise forbidden for the whole season of Lent, including Sundays; in that year, Pope Benedict XIV allowed for the consumption of meat and lacticinia during certain fasting days of Lent.

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has maintained the rule of abstention from meat on Friday only during Lent and considers poultry to be a type of meat but not fish or shellfish.

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Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, a confessional Lutheran denomination, likewise permits members to give things up for Lent, while emphasizing that the purpose of Lent is repentance from sin rather than minor acts of self-denial in themselves.

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Gloria in excelsis Deo, which is usually said or sung on Sundays at Mass of the Roman, Lutheran and Anglican rites, is omitted on the Sundays of Lent, but continues in use on solemnities and feasts and on special celebrations of a more solemn kind.

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Holy Week and the season of Lent, depending on denomination and local custom, end with Easter Vigil at sundown on Holy Saturday or on the morning of Easter Sunday.

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