Lent enforces self-discipline among religions

March 8, 2012 • Chelsea Jackson, Writer/Editor  
Filed under Feature

As spring moves in and it gets closer to Easter, many people begin to fast in honor of Lent. Every year on “Ash Wednesday” it seems like many people question why a person would have ashes on their forehead.

Ash Wednesday is observed by various religions, but mostly Methodist, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches. Ash Wednesday is the introduction to the season of Lent, which begins 40 days before Easter not including Sundays.

For the religions that choose to acknowledge Lent as a religious time, the season typically means spiritual discipline, living selflessly to focus on God, fasting, and moderation. For many, fasting also includes not eating meat at any point on Friday’s of the Lent season.

As part of the self discipline and moderation Lent brings, many followers choose to give up an indulgence or luxury for the 40 days of Lent as part of their sacrifice.

For the churches that believe in Lent, the idea came from scriptures of Luke, Mark, and Matthew that claim that Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert fasting.

“I gave up pop and junk food for Lent,” sophomore Becca Nelson said. Throughout the time of Lent, it would not be uncommon to hear someone say they gave up pop or sweets, however giving up something does not have to be in the form of food indulgences. Some people also choose to give up addicting yet unnecessary luxuries like Facebook or television. Ideally, a person would give up something that is a personal challenge to avoid for forty days.

Depending on the religion, some Lent observing churches have stricter, more defined rules for Lent than others. For example, not all churches require that participants give up meat on Friday’s, it just comes down to personal preference.

Throughout the upcoming Friday’s of Lent, chances are cars will be filing into Long John Silver’s drive thru, and students will be choosing the tuna sandwich in the lunch line instead of beef. Also during this time of the year, many other well-known fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Arby’s introduce a seafood option on their menu as a limited time offer.

This year, Ash Wednesday fell on February 22, 46 days before Easter on April 8th. However, because the liturgical calendar doesn’t count Sundays as a part of Lent, the season is considered 40 days of fasting.

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