What is Lent?



A priest finishes the shape of a cross over this young women’s forehead to mark the beginning of Lent.

Emma Khamo, Editor-In-Chief

Starting on February 17, over 1 billion people all over the world will be beginning their journey through Lent. This time is a 40 day time period celebrated by Catholics as they await the resurrection of Jesus. During this time, Catholics are encouraged to fast, give, and pray. 


Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when Catholics are obligated to attend Mass and receive ashes on their foreheads. The ashes are burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday and the volunteer will draw a cross on the forehead with the ashes on their fingers as they say “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and dust you shall return.” The ashes are a symbol of the 40 days journey that you are about to embark on and a public announcement of it.


The first thing is fasting. Catholics begin their journey with Ash Wednesday where all ages have to abstain from meat and Catholics from the ages of 18 to 59 fast from all meals unless they have a medical reason. Another time where we abstain from meat is every Friday during Lent. Many ask why Catholics chose meat as the thing to give up on certain days during Lent and it is because many believed that meat was a luxury, and not eating it was a way to prove self-discipline. 


Another way to fast over Lent is by giving something up every day during Lent. When giving something up, it is supposed to be something that will be very difficult to abstain from. Some of the most popular things to fast from are Chocolate, sweets, coffee, and social media. The goal to give these things is up is that by the end of the 40 days, you are completely over your obsession with this item and will be able to live a more fulfilling life without it. Some unusual and not-as-common things to give up are talking bad about yourself, using condiments, and the snooze button.


The next thing that Catholics participate in is to give alms. Catholics are encouraged to give or do something for others during this time to get closer to the Lord. Many people will dedicate a day during the week to feed the homeless or use the money saved from getting Starbucks to give back to the Church on Sunday.


The last thing that Catholics do during Lent is praying. During the 40 day journey, many Catholics will pray a little more so that they can prepare themselves for Jesus’ Resurrection. Some different ways to pray is to say a decade of the Rosary before bed, or reading a chapter of the book in the bible right when you wake up.


Yorba Linda High School has many Catholics on campus and Junior, Lauren Farer (11), says that “she really does enjoy this time during Lent because she is able to grow closer to God and prepare her heart for Easter”. This year Farer will be fasting from coffee and will clean the house more often to help her family out. 


No matter what you give up or do during this year’s Lent, it is important to learn about how different Religions celebrate and prepare for Easter because although it might be filled with eggs and chocolate bunnies for others, too many, it is so much more.