With the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday (Feb 22nd), recent conversation tend to focus around what others have given up for Lent. After seeing Josh Hartnett’s film 40 Days and 40 Nights, many of you must be familiar with the idea behind Lent: sacrifice. In the movie Hartnett’s character in the movie gives up all sexual activity for the 40 days & nights of Lent. However, we at Denim Diary want to discuss the true meaning of Lent beyond the ‘denial’ aspect of the festival.
Lent is the time when Christians prepare for the greatest of the Christian festival known as Easter, the day which celebrates the rising of Jesus after his death on the Cross. By thinking of things they have done wrong, Christians view Lent as a time to spring-clean their lives and homes. By repenting, some Christians try to overcome their own faults because they believe that it was man’s sin which led Jesus to be crucified. Lenten practices can come in a variety of forms such as giving up a favorite food, drink, or activity. Alternatively, individuals may choose to take on a Lenten discipline such as devotions, volunteering for charity work, and so on.
The number 40 is symbolic because this is the amount of days & nights which Jesus spent alone in the desert without food being tempted by the Devil. Jesus used this time to prepare for His work by fasting and praying. So, as in the Bible, Christians spend 40 days in preparing themselves to rejoice at the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.
As one of our Denim Diary girls in Nigeria is partaking in Lent, we wanted to share about her chosen Lenten discipline:
Lent for me is a time to give back to those in need by sacrificing a luxury of mine, and that for me is food! Since my Mom went to Catholic boarding school she grew up attending Mass and observing lent, she was able to pass it down to me and now lent is something I look forward to every year. Growing up around poverty in Lagos, I am grateful for what I have and find the need to share it with those less fortunate.
This year, like previous years, I have given up “Wheat and White” – so basically, chapatti, pasta, bread, and rice are included, as well as cakes, biscuits and anything else that contains flour. I continue my meals as normal concentrating on protein, veggies and dairy, but eliminate the carbohydrate food group. At the end of each day I take into monetary account the quantity of “Wheat and White” I would have eaten, and then at the end of Lent, on Easter Sunday, I tally up my “Wheat and White” spending, double it, then feed those less fortunate who were not able to have a hot meal on the table. It’s my time to give back.
Is anyone else celebrating Lent? We would love to hear from you!