Lent 2023 began on Ash Wednesday, which was February 22, 2023, and is one of the most important holidays in the Western Christian religions. During these 40 Holy days, Catholics and Protestants will create habits of fasting, praying, and giving. The Lenten season represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert.

Lent is known in the Christian Bible as a 40 day period of praying and fasting. In the Old Testament, prophet Moses went to the mountains for 40 days and 40 nights to practice prayer and a specific type of fasting (abstinence- referring to food), no bread or drinking water, before receiving the Ten Commandments. After that, Elijah the prophet did the same thing (praying and fasting) until he reached the Mountain of God. In the New Testament, Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert to escape the temptations that Satan was trying to get from Him.

In Early Christianity, the tradition of fasting before Easter has always existed. Early Christian literature would promote consuming bread, vegetables, salt & water, abstaining from flesh and wine.

Lent begins 46 days before Easter each year and this year it began on February 22. The day signifying the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is known as the reminder to reconcile with God to start the Lenten season. It is considered a Holy day of prayer and fasting. Ash Wednesday is usually observed by Western Christian subreligions. On Ash Wednesday, the Church has a special service when the people of the Church receive a Cross on the forehead made of ashes (hence the holiday name), from the Priest. The ashes are from burnt palm tree leaves, that were prepared last Palm Sunday. Easter takes place on April 9, 2023, after the first full moon or the March Equinox (March 21 on Christian calendars).

There are a few rules to Lent, which include fasting and abstinence. On Shrove Tuesday (day before Ash Wednesday), where you decide what you want to give up for Lent. Some examples of things to give up for Lent is; coffee, alcohol, social media, gossiping, or hot showers. Anyone over the age of 14 is required to abstain from consuming meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, everyone (in good health) 18-59, must fast from dusk to dawn. Children, adults with mental or physical disabilities, pregnant women, or anyone nursing is exempt from fasting on Ash Wednesday. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says that no one should jeopardize their health to fast. Technically, Lent ends on Holy Thursday (April 6), but Lenten fasting ends on Easter.

Vox states 1/4 of Americans celebrate Lent each year, 61% Catholics, 20% Protestants. English teacher Jennifer Salter, who celebrates Lent says that she always gives up the creamer in her coffee for Lent, prays during lunch, and her family says the rosary each night.

Lent is a time to imitate Jesus in way to put others before oneself, give, pray, and repent, while giving up one of your favorite things, or something you struggle with. Lent can really help someone build a relationship with God, while eliminating any potential distractions during this time of giving.