lent1236708378 The season of Lent ends during Holy Week. The word lent comes from Middle English and means “springtime.” In the church this period is the forty-day time before Easter, or a period of preparation to celebrate Easter. It ends with the Easter Vigil. Early in the development of this ancient tradition fasting became a part of Lent. This may have originated in Egypt as a remembrance of Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. By the middle of the fourth century a forty-day fast began the sixth Sunday before Easter in Rome. By the sixth century the days before the sixth Sunday were added thus Lent begins on the Wednesday before the sixth Sunday. The forty days are calculated as forty by adding up the days through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, without the Sundays! (Do the math, it works.) The rite of imposing ashes did not begin until the tenth century, thus the day was called Ash Wednesday. The ashes are imposed to remind the Christian that from dust he/she has come and to dust they will return.

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