The Season of Lent


Erika Ocegueda (12th), Reporter

On February 26th, you may have noticed people walking around with a distinct black cross upon their foreheads. The cross is made of ashes, and the people are part of various denominations of the Christian faith. That day was Ash Wednesday which marked the start of Lent. 

Lent is representative of the forty days in which Jesus Christ faced the temptations of the Devil in the desert. For forty days and forty nights, Jesus stayed in the Judean desert, where he fasted and resisted the lures of the Devil. It was a period of fasting and sacrifice, so in turn, we Christians try to do the same—in a different way. It’s forty days of not only penance and sacrifice but also reflection. I hope that the Christians out there can look at this year’s season of Lent as a way to rediscover their faith, and not as a time in which your mom nags at you to give up a bad habit, and your eating habits are annoyingly restricted once a week. 

Lent, as previously mentioned, begins with Ash Wednesday; upon this day, those in the faith are restricted from partaking in any meals that contain meat. People are expected to—though not required to—attend a mass. The mass is like any other, except for the distribution of ash at the end. Blessed by the priest and made from the ashes of the palms from Palm Sunday, the ashes are placed upon a person’s forehead in the shape of a cross. From then on, all those in the faith, above the age of fourteen, are expected to abstain from certain actions or materials, of their choosing. People are also expected to abstain from all meat—except for fish—every Friday, during the Lent season.  

After that, the church goes through visual changes. The church must be free of all flowers, it’s devoid of bright visual decorations. The altar has none of its usual special decorations. During mass, the priest dresses in purple, and the church is notably only decorated in purple. Purple is a key color during this season. Purple is representative of mourning, as well as the way we view Christ as our King. 

Good Friday marks the end of Lent. Upon this day, we recognize the day in which Jesus is crucified, and we prepare for his resurrection. Typically, a performance of the Stations of the Cross is performed, and people participate in prayer. With the end of that day, we then await the Resurrection of Christ. This occurs on Easter Sunday.

All those who are a part of the Christian faith are well aware of the requirements and the changes that occur during this season. As a Catholic myself, I can say that this season is one of my favorites of the Liturgical year. I look forward to this season because I feel as though it brings me closer to the best version of myself (shout out to any of the Matthew Kelly fans out there).  During this season, I encourage people to take time to reflect spiritually and to think about their relationship with God. 

One devout Catholic has given her reason for partaking in Lent, “Yes [I partake in Lent], I’m Catholic… I love God…[Lent means] that Jesus sacrificed himself for us, this shows he loves us.”

During this season, people are expected to sacrifice something for forty days. Usually, people give up some unhealthy part of their diet or a bad habit, and giving up those things is fine, it’s great actually, but I encourage you to reflect upon yourself and find something that’s straining your relationship with God. Give up something that will make you the best version of yourself. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to sacrifice something you can also take up something. You can choose to be nicer or to take up a good habit. 

The information I provided comes mainly from my knowledge as a Catholic, I’m not sure if other denominations of Christianity have different views or requirements, regarding the season.  I encourage all those who do partake in it, to find out more about what their faith calls them to do during this season of sacrifice.