lent is the penitential preparation of the believer
through prayer, penance, repentance, alms giving, and self-denial.
to overcome selfishness,
to desire more strongly to live a holy life,
and to show to others the love and compassion.
sin injures and weakens the sinner,
as well as relations with god and neighbors
"penance" is derived from old french and latin "poenitentia",
root meaning repentance; the desire to be forgiven.
merits of faith and good works.
the whole activity from confession to absolution.
jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert
where he endured temptation by satan,
before the beginning of his public ministry.
Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate
presenting a scourged Christ to the people
"Ecce homo!" (Behold the man!)
- Clean Week, Maslenitsa (in russia), Butter Week, Pancake week, Cheesefare Week
The entire first week of lent.
(though, christians celebrate this the week before Lent)
confession is customary, and cleaning the house thoroughly.
- Forgiveness Sunday, Cheesefare Sunday:
the day lent begins, in some religions, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers,
which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness,
at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness,
so Lent can begin with a clean conscience, forgiveness, and renewed love.
- Clean Monday, Ash Monday, Shrove Monday, Collop Monday,
Rose Monday, Merry Monday, Hall Monday:
the Monday before Ash Wednesday.
Orthodox Lent begins.
"cease to do evil; learn to do well." -Isaiah 1:1-20
some countries go on picnics and fly kites,
or snowball fight, sled, swing, and sleigh ride, etc.
this happy, springtime atmosphere may seem at odds
with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control,
but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the orthodox approach to fasting,
where you're encouraged not to mope around:
"When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance:
for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast.
Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face,
that thou appear not unto men to fast,
but unto thy Father which is in secret"
- Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Pancake Day:
the day before lent.
rich foods ere eaten on the day before fasting to use up butter and sugar.
In Portuguese-, Spanish- and Italian-speaking countries, it is known as Carnival
[from the words carne levare (to take away meat), another aspect of Lent]
It is often celebrated with street processions and/or fancy dress.
The most famous of these events is the Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro,
while the Venetians celebrate carnival with a masquerade.
The use of the term 'carnival' in other contexts derives from here.
they make large batches of malasadas
(egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar)
- Ash Wednesday:
is the first day of lent.
occurs 46 days before Easter.
the beginning of 40 day period of prayer and fasting.
The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms
from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.
The priest or minister marks the forehead of each participant
with black ashes in the sign of the cross,
which the worshiper traditionally retains until it wears off.
The act echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ashes over one's head
to signify repentance before God, mourning, and sorrow for sins and faults.
The priest or minister says:
"Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." -Genesis 3:19
this act and the ashes are sacramental, not sacrament.
sacramentals may be given to anyone who wishes to receive them
sacraments are reserved for church members, except in grave cases.
sometimes, small cards are distributed to the congregation
on which people are invited to write a sin they wish to confess.
These small cards are brought forth to the altar table where they are burned.
On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday,
Catholics are permitted to consume only one full meal,
which may be supplemented by two smaller meals,
which together should not equal the full meal.
Some undertake a complete fast or a bread and water fast.
Ash Wednesday and all fridays during lent, are days of abstinence from meat.
Some continue fasting throughout lent, concluding only after easter.
in 1984, in Ireland, Ash Wednesday is National No Smoking Day.
because it ties in with giving up luxury.
it's now fixed as the second Wednesday in March.
- Muandy Thursday, Holy Thursday:
the six Sundays in this period are not counted
because each one represents a "mini-Easter" celebration
of jesus' victory over sin and death.
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