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Spotlight On Lent; A 40-Day Christian Religious Observance

The concept originated by the Roman Catholics somewhere in the 6th century.

Though the exact origin of the day is not clear, the custom of marking the head with ashes on this Day is said to have originated during the papacy of Gregory the Great (590-604).

There is no mention of Ash Wednesday in the Bible.

But there is a tradition of donning ashes as a sign of penitence that predates Jesus.

In the Old Testament, Job repents “in dust and ashes,” and there are other associations of ashes and repentance in Esther, Samuel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.

Ash Wednesday is important because it marks the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected.

The ashes symbolize both death and repentance.

During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins, because they believe Christ died for them.

In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days.

This is known as one's Lenten sacrifice.

Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.

The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ's carrying the Cross and of his execution, are often observed.

Many Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches remove flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols are often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event.

Throughout Christendom, some adherents mark the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat, most notably among Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and Anglicans.

Lent is traditionally described as lasting for 40 days, in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, before beginning his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan.

Depending on the Christian denomination and local custom,

Lent ends either on the evening of Maundy Thursday or at sundown on Holy Saturday, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated.

Regardless, Lenten practices are properly maintained until the evening of Holy Saturday.

Credit: News Desk Report



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