[NOTE: THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 2013 -- ONLY THE DATES HAVE BEEN CHANGED]
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WHAT IS LENT?
Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter Sunday. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day (in 2014 it falls on March 5th), or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days before Easter Sunday. Sundays are not included in the 40-day count because Sundays commemorate Christ’s glorious resurrection on the first day of the week or “the Lord’s day.”
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LENT?
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection of Jesus Christ — His suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial and resurrection.
The 40 days of Lent are also a time of grief. The tradition begins with the first day of Lent, or Ash Wednesday. Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a sign of repentance. The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions. In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin.