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When is Lent 2018, and what should you give up?

What should you give up this year? We've got you covered.
when is Lent 2018
Woman attends Ash Wednesday Mass on March 1, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Attention world: Lent is coming sooner than you think. Yes, really. When is Lent 2018? It actually starts next week and falls on a little holiday we like to enjoy with boxes of chocolates and champagne (or is that just me?). Here's everything you need to know in preparation for Lent 2018. 

What is Lent?

In terms of the calendar, when is Lent 2018? Lent covers the 40-day period leading up to Easter and biblically symbolizes the 40 days and nights Jesus was tested in the wilderness after he was baptized (Matthew 4:2). It also, according to Catholic Online, symbolizes the 40 years Israelites wandered in the desert.

Lent is a time of fasting, but the degree of this fasting varies by tradition and sect. Catholics, for example, are encouraged to follow stricter practices. Protestants, on the other hand, tend not to follow "church-mandated practices when it comes to fasts," reports Vox

Catholics 14 and older aren’t supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent, according to USA TODAY who spoke to Father Michael Fuller, executive director of Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fish is allowed.

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The Conference of Catholic Bishops website states that, "When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal." (So...snacks, we guess.)

According to Vox, all Catholics — no matter how religious — are encouraged to fast from meat on Good Friday (March 30 this year), and The Conference of Catholic Bishops site also notes Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14 this year) as another day of fasting.

when is lent 2018 glitter ash

Really, Lent is 46 days long, but Christians observing Lent are told to break their fast on Sundays (and there are six Sundays during this period, hence 40 days). 

Western Christianity typically allows people to pick what they wish to fast from — and this is why you hear talk of giving up one thing or another for Lent. 

But why do people give things up for Lent?

Basically, to give up some comfort in our lives as Jesus did.

"In Lent, we can break down these walls that keep us tied down. By following Jesus into the desert, we can find that space to be vulnerable in between the joy of Christmas and of Easter," one blogger wrote. "Both are linked by the vulnerability of the God who comes down from heaven to earth, who took human form and who bore wounds in his side to stand alongside us in our own pain and our own struggles."

Some people also commit this time to community service and spiritual practices.

Here’s a nice informational video to sum it all up in preparation for Lent 2018:

So, when is Lent 2018?

Lent 2018 begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day!) and ends on Holy Thursday, March 29 (right before Good Friday). However, Christians often observe Lent until Easter (or the Saturday before Easter, Holy Saturday).

What should I give up for Lent 2018?       

You may or may not have given up anything for Lent before. Many people abstain from sweets, a bad habit, maybe even a bad relationship (hey, you’re doing it for Jesus after all). 

You can try taking this online quiz to decide what to sacrifice in 2018, and here are some more ideas from Twitter — a few serious, some bizarre, most just plain funny.

Selfies

Fast from the bad, embrace the good

Student loans

Target (or just your favorite store)

Alcohol…(sort of)

And social media!

Rice...

New Year’s resolutions

Carbs

Chocolate

Driving

Harry Styles…?

 
 
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