While some individuals spend days leading up to Easter solely planning their Easter egg hunts and selecting Easter brunch recipes, others mark the day in a very different way. Many Christians observe Lent in the forty days preceding Easter, the annual Christian celebration that precedes Easter.
Lent is a unique period of meditation, fasting, and prayer during which Christians are encouraged to recall the sacraments of birth and penance in readiness for Easter Sunday.
Lent lasts 40 days to commemorate the time Jesus spent in the desert fasting and preparing for his ministry, and to mark the occasion; many Christians choose to make their sacrifice over those 40 days.
Throughout Lent, Christians may abstain from luxuries such as dessert or wine, or they may do acts of compassion through volunteer labor.
Additionally, Christians (especially Roman Catholics) frequently abstain from meat during Lent, either for the entire 40 days or just on Fridays until Easter.
Are you unsure of the date of Lent 2022 this year? Here is everything you need to know about the Lenten season of 2022, as well as the history of why Christians observe Lent.
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When is Lent in the year 2022?
The Lenten season is set each year by the liturgical celebration of Easter Sunday, a significant Christian event. Easter cannot be determined because it always falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal full moon, the first full moon on or after the spring equinox.
Western and Eastern churches diverge slightly from there. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (the seventh Wednesday before Easter) and concludes on Holy Saturday in Western Christian churches (the day before Easter).
Eastern churches observe Lent beginning on the Monday of the seventh week preceding Easter and concluding on the Friday nine days before Easter.
When will Lent begin in 2022?
Easter comes on Sunday, April 17, 2022, this year. For Western churches, this means that Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
On that day, priests collect ashes from Palm Sunday the previous year and massage them on the foreheads of congregations while reciting Genesis 3:19: ” For you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”
When will Lent 2022 conclude?
Lent concludes for Western churches on Saturday, April 16, 2022, with an evening Easter Vigil liturgy. However, the final week of Lent is observed differently from Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022.
Holy Week also includes Holy Wednesday (when Judas’ plot to deceive Jesus is acknowledged), Maundy Thursday (when Jesus’ last supper is commemorated), and Good Friday (which is when Christians recall the crucification of their savior).
Easter, of course, is the concluding day of Holy Week, when Catholics acknowledge that Jesus resurrected from the dead.
How long does Lent last?
Lent lasts 40 days, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, always the day before Easter Sunday. On the other hand, Lent is officially 46 days long because it does not include Sundays.
How did Lent begin?
According to the Catholic Education Resource Center, there is evidence of a period of Lenten preparation preceding Easter dating back to the Church’s earliest days.
It all began with Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, which Matthew 3:13-17 describes as the beginning of his messianic mission, and he spent 40 days in the desert.
40 days is a large number in Jewish-Christian traditions. It represents the duration of the Great Flood as described in the Bible’s Genesis, Moses’ time in the wilderness before accepting the Ten Commandments, and the days the Hebrews spent in the desert before reaching the Promised Land.
Christians believe that during Jesus’ 40-day fasting time in the desert, he overcame Satan’s temptations and a series of tests, which equipped him to carry out his mission of teaching, healing, and rescuing humanity from sin upon his return.
Additionally, historical evidence indicates that “our predecessors” — commonly referred to as Jesus’ apostles – fast for 40 days, 24 hours a day, before Easter. Indeed, St. Irenaeus mentioned fasting for “40 hours” or “40 days, seven hours a day” in a letter to Pope St. Victor I in 203 A.D.
Lent was not formally instituted until 325 C.E. at the First Council of Nicaea. Strict fasting restrictions permitted only one meal per day if no meat, wine, oil, or dairy products were consumed.
Apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the Roman Catholic Church’s strict fasting restrictions were forsaken during World War II.
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How is Lent observed in the modern era?
Today, Christians worldwide observe the 40 days preceding Easter as a time of fasting and preparation for the Easter Sunday celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
However, how people fast frequently varies according to whatever branch of Christianity they belong to. Eastern Orthodox Christians are more observant, as they continue to abstain from wine, oil, and dairy products throughout the full Lenten season (as well as during other fasting periods).
Only Ash Wednesday is a full fast day for Western Christians, although others abstain from meat every Friday.