Claremore Daily Progress

February 21, 2012

Five things you should know about Lent

Christ Day

STILLWATER — 1. How many days in Lent?

Forty is a common number found throughout the Bible. When Noah built the Ark, it rained for 40 days. Moses and the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years. And the Lenten season lasts 40 days, but Sundays are not counted.

2. Do you have to give up something for Lent?

Many Catholics and Protestants show penitence by giving up something — chocolate, their favorite TV show, technology — for Lent. In recent years, some have started doing extra instead of without.

How did the tradition of meatless Fridays start?

It has been traced to the early centuries of the church. It started in memory of Jesus’ death on Good Friday. Early church members wouldn’t eat meat in recognition of the crucifixion. Blood was shed to prepare the animal for eating.

4. What is Ash Wednesday?

Genesis 3:19: “For dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” The ashes symbolize mortality. Traditionally, the ashes are made by burning dried palm fronds saved from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service.

5. What is the origin of the word Lent?

Lent is derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word lengten, which means springtime. The word represents the time of year the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection occurs.