March: The Season of Lent
Lent is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. The name “Lent” is from the Middle English “Lencten,” meaning spring; its more primitive ecclesiastical name was the “forty days,” “quadragesima” in Latin or “tessaracoste” in Greek. The number “forty” is first noted in the Canons of Nicaea (A.D. 325), likely in imitation of Jesus’ fast in the desert before His public ministry.
Lent is a most poignant of season of preparation, hence the liturgical colour – comparatively to Advent – is purple. However, whereas Advent is a period of joyful expectation, Lent emphasises sombre penitential reflection as we are journeying to the Cross with Jesus. Thus, many Christians make a Lenten promise whereby they abstain from certain luxuries until Easter Sunday (for example, give up chocolate or social media). Also, many make an extra effort to attend church services and go to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.