Have you ever wondered what your Christan pals are talking about when they say they’re giving something up for Lent? Are you interested in learning what Lent is and how it relates to Easter?
If so, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’re exploring the coveted Christian season to uncover what it is, how it came to be, and more. Are you ready?
Let’s dive in.
What Is the Definition of Lent?
According to the Britannica Dictionary, Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for Easter. During this time, the Christian church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the desert before he began his public ministry.
Observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other churches:
- In Western churches, the 40 weekdays of Lent start on Ash Wednesday — six and a half weeks before Easter — and end on Holy Saturday.
- In Eastern churches, the Christian season begins on the Monday of the seventh week before Easter and ends on the Friday that is nine days before Easter. This 40-day “Great Lent” includes the weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) as relaxed fast days.
What Is the Origin of the Word Lent?
According to most historians, Lent — known as Tessarakosti in Greek and Quadragesima in Latin, for “Forty” — emerged shortly following the Council of Nicea (AKA, the “Nicene Creed”) in 325 AD.
That said, early Christian practices in the Roman Empire varied from region to region. One of those common practices was weekly fasting on Wednesday and Friday until about mid-afternoon. Additionally, clergy members, as well as those looking to get baptized, would fast before the rite, which, more often than not, took place on Easter Sunday.
Sometime around the fourth century, various Christian communities started to observe a longer fast of 40 days just before the beginning of the three holiest days of the liturgical year:
- Holy Thursday
- Good Friday
As Christianity continued to spread through Western Europe, the observance of Lent did, too. In 601 AD, Pope Gregory instituted the tradition of marking parishioner’s foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross.
Events During the Season of Lent
Believe it or not, there are a ton of events that take place during the 40-days of Lent, including:
- Shrove Tuesday —The day before Ash Wednesday, also known as Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras
- Ash Wednesday — A holy day of prayer that marks the beginning of Lent (aka, the first day of Lent)
- Holy Friday or Good Friday — A Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary
- Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday — The Thursday before Easter, observed by Christians as a commemoration of the Last Supper
- Holy Week — The most sacred week in the Christian liturgical year, this is a week of observances leading up to Easter Sunday that generally includes prayer, confession, lenten fasting, and almsgiving.
- Easter Sunday — Also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday — The fifth Sunday of Lent, marking the start of Passiontide
- Holy Saturday — Also called Easter Vigil, the Great Sabbath, Hallelujah Saturday, Sabado de Gloria, Saturday of the Glory, and Black Saturday or Easter Eve, this holy day is the Jewish Sabbath before Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus laid in the tomb after his death
Does the Word Lent Mean Anything Else?
The word “lent” can be the past tense of “lend,” which simply means to give someone goods or money with the expectation that it will be given back. That said, the term “lend” is an irregular verb, so its conjugation isn’t always intuitive.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Lent?
Now that you’re up to speed on the meaning of Lent, let’s take a look at a few synonyms and antonyms, shall we?
Synonyms of Lent
- Gave out
- Fixed up
- Accommodate one with
- Doled out
- Lined up
- Catered to
- Charged for the use of
- Laid on one
- Forked out
- Let someone use
- Made up
- Allowed the use of
- Given a loan
- On credit
- Gave someone the loan of
- Given credit
- Assigned temporarily
- On loan
- Loaned out
Antonyms of Lent
- Held back
- Kept up
- Kept back
- Took away
- Taken away
What Are Translations of Lent?
Wondering how to say our word of the day in a different language? We’ve got your back! Here are some of the top translations of lent from around the world:
- Thai — ฤดูถือศีลอดก่อนวันอีสเตอร์ของชาวคริสต์ (เป็นเวลา 40 วัน)
- Turkish — 40 günlük Paskalya dönemi
- Ukrainian — піст
- Vietnamese — Tuần ăn chay
- British English — Lent
- European Portuguese — Quaresma
- Romanian — postul Paștelui
- American English — Lent
- Arabic — الصَوْمُ الكَبِيرُ
- Brazilian Portuguese — quaresma
- Chinese — 大斋节
- Croatian — korizma
- Czech — půst před velikonocemi
- Russian — Великий пост
- French — Carême
- Danish — faste
- Dutch — Vasten
- European Spanish — Cuaresma
- Finnish — paaston aika
- German — Fastenzeit
- Greek — Μεγάλη Σαρακοστή
- Italian — Quaresima
- Japanese — 四旬節
- Korean — 사순절
- Norwegian — faste
- Polish — Wielki Pos
- Spanish — Cuaresma
- Swedish — fasta
In short, Lent is the religious observance in the Christain liturgical calendar commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by the devil — AKA, Satan — in an attempt to deter him from God. Celebrated by the Catholic church, Protestant Churches, and other holy organizations as well as people far and wide,
Our word of the day is also the past tense of the term “lend,” meaning to give someone money with the expectation that it be given back.
Lent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
Lended or Lent – Which is Correct? | Writing Explained
History of Lent | Catholic Education
Lent | Definition, History, Meaning, Catholic, & Practices | Britannica