Is Lent still a thing?
In short, absolutely. You may know Lent as being a period of time within the Christian religion. It consists of 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday (this year, 17th February and ending on Saturday 3rd April). It is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. Whereas Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus' crucifixion by Rome.
Although only a small number of people today fast for the whole of Lent, although some maintain the practice on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It is more common these days for believers to surrender a particular vice such as favourite foods or smoking. Whatever the sacrifice it is a reflection of Jesus' deprivation in the wilderness and a test of self-discipline.
As I, personally, am not religious, I tend not to fast for this period. However, over the last 6 years, I have observed the time to sacrifice something also. This is more of a personal commitment, rather than religious. I do believe there are benefits to doing so, as it improves discipline and mental fitness. Over the years, I have sacrificed a few things, some of which I have not reintroduced to my life. This year is no different as I aim to sacrifice meat for the full 40 days.
Where did the decision come from? My fiancée! Leading up to Lent, I discuss the decision to sacrifice with people close to me. As I am not addicted to anything (cigarettes, alcohol etc) I believe in really putting thought into it and using the word 'sacrifice' genuinely. It would be too easy to give up something that isn't a big part of one's life. I am certainly not addicted to meat, but I do eat it regularly. I believe this to be a bit of a challenge for me. Therefore, starting February 17th, I will sacrifice meat for 40 days (hopefully longer if I can manage).
Not only is this a challenge, but I'm also eager to discover the benefits of vegetarianism. I am aware that there are many benefits, and I hope to experience them all. Fingers crossed for me!
Are you willing to partake in the season? Let us know what you're willing to sacrifice for a better you.
I'll be sure to update you along the way!