The season of Lent is here. Christians across the world kicks it off with ash Wednesday. It’s a time of deep meditation and grace and bunch of other stuffs. To all Christians starting their fast, kudos! My God grant you strength. So in the spirit of the lent, here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about lent.
5. NOT ALL CHRISTIANS OBSERVE LENT
While in excess of a billion Christians observe Lent each year, not all Christians do. It is observed by Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Easter Orthodox, Lutherans, and Methodists. Whole swathes of Protestants don’t observe Lent — Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostalists, Latter Day Saints. Many other Protestant denominations recognize Lent, although the extent to which they alter their day-to-day lives varies greatly and is mostly a question of individual conscience. These disciplines include restricting food, giving up luxuries (including, in the 21st century, social media), and engaging in charitable work. Unlike Easter, it’s not a celebration
4. TRUE MEANING OF THE ASH ON ASH WEDNESDAY
The ashes that are used are obtained from burning the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter that commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. The palms are blessed with holy water, and then sit in burning incense to give them a scent. Priests, deacons and Eucharist ministers are able to administer ashes during the Ash Wednesday service.
They are drawn on the forehead in the shape of a cross and serve as a sign of humans’ sinfulness and need for penance. While they are being placed on the worshiper’s heads, the priest says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This is taken from Genesis 3:19 in the Bible. Another Bible quote that the priest may choose to recite, taken from from Mark 1:15, is “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
3. WHY 40 DAYS?
Why 40 days? The number is significant in Jewish-Christian scripture: in Genesis, it took 40 days and nights of rain to cause a flood which destroyed the earth; the Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land; Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai; Jesus spent 40 days of fasting in preparation for his ministry.
2. COLOR OF LENT IS VIOLET
Violet is the symbolic color for Lent, with altars, statues and other religious paraphernalia veiled in violet fabric.Why violet? The color is associated with mourning, which anticipates Christ’s pain and suffering on the cross; and royalty, which celebrates Christ’s resurrection.
1. BAN OF GADGETS
In 2010, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said Filipino Catholics should abstain from video games, movies, sending text messages, and even using social networks such as Facebook as a form of sacrifice during the Lenten season. Cruz followed a similar proposal by British Church leaders urging people to give up their iPods and other gadgets for at least one day.