Lent (information quoted from internet)

Lent2016When is Lent? What is Lent? The following are excerpts quoted from various sources.

When is Lent in 2016?

Lent traditionally begins on Ash Wednesday. Basically speaking, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. Lent 2016 started on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 (29 days ago) and ends on Saturday, March 26th 2016 (in 15 days). Lent is a penitential period, involving the dual disciplines of abstinence and fasting. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits or luxuries – for example meat, cakes and sweets, alcohol, smoking – for its duration (the money saved is often then donated to charity). This is done both as a form of penitence and as a spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

The liturgical period of Lent also begins on Ash Wednesday, however it ends on the evening of Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). In addition, Palm Sunday (or alternatively the day before Palm Sunday) is sometimes considered to be the last day of Lent. This is incorrect and based on a misunderstanding about the liturgical periods of Lent and Holy Week. They are not exclusive of each other, and Lent in fact continues into Holy Week (see above), meaning that the liturgical season of Lent ends on Holy Thursday.

Purple is the color most associated with Lent – during this period purple church vestments (altar cloths and the priests’ liturgical garments) are used. The purple is symbolic in two ways: it is the traditional color of mourning (recalling Jesus’ death) and also symbolic of royalty (celebrating Christ’s coming as King).

Last year, more than 400,000 people tweeted what they were giving up during the week of Ash Wednesday. The top five choices: school, chocolate, Twitter itself, alcohol, and social networking. In 2016, the “what to give up for” list total including retweets (final) is as follows. Here is Smith’s final total of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2016.

Rank Category Number of Tweets
1 food 15,459
2 technology 5,021
3 habits 4,299
4 smoking/drugs/alcohol 3,513
5 school/work 3,235
6 relationship 1,974
7 irony 1,812
8 health/hygiene 908
9 sex 902
10 religion 738
11 generic 577
12 entertainment 462
13 politics 374
14 relationships 344
15 shopping 341
16 money 147
17 sports 125
18 celebrity 78
19 possessions 70
20 weather 57
21 clothes 49

(http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/february/what-to-give-up-for-lent-2016-twitter-top-100-ideas.html)

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