Lenten season offers wide range of definitions, meanings

More stories from Paige Gilbert


Many people celebrate Lent, but there is not just one definition for it. Lent means something completely different to each person. To some, Lent is a time to give up something, but to junior Taylor Russell Lent is “A time to think about the sacrifice that Jesus made and in a much much easier way to understand what he went through. By giving up something so little from our lives we understand what it’s like to sacrifice something. He sacrificed his life for our sins and I see Lent as a way to honor his sacrifice.”  It’s a time to prepare for Easter.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. These 40 days represent the time period Christ fasted. Ash Wednesday is commonly noted as the day people wear ashes on their forehead. These ashes remind people to repent and that they are dust, and to dust they will return. The ashes come from the blessed palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. They are sprinkled with Holy water and incensed before being distributed. The ashes can be cleaned off the forehead as soon as the service has ended, or can be worn all day.

This year Ash Wednesday was on Feb. 14 and began the Lenten season.The day before Lent was known as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Many recognize this as party time in cities like New Orleans. This celebrates the last fatty and juicy foods before Lent since in some religions meat is not to be eaten on some days of the week for the entire 40 days.

Many customs emerged during Mardi Gras such as cleaning out the pantry of any restricted food items during Lent. Mardi Gras is associated with the word carnival. In latin “carne vale” translates to “farewell to meat” or “farewell to flesh” suggesting the end to particular pleasures is coming.

Each religion has a special variation of Lent, but is celebrated to remind themselves of the sacrifice Christ made for others around him. Whether an item is chosen to be given up for the 40 days before Easter, or wearing ashes on their foreheads Lent has an important meaning to many.