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"The Fight between Carnival and Lent" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1559
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Devil's in the details

Lent is a holy liturgical season in which believers fast and pray before Easter.


Lent is meant to serve as a reminder of the days Jesus spent in the dessert desert resisting temptations from the Devil. As a celebration of their leader's sacrifices, believers go without something dear to them for the entire period of Lent. It can mean giving up something temporarily over lent or it can mean trying to overcome a sin with the hope that the believer will continue to avoid that sin after Lent.

It should be known that Sundays are not included in the forty days of Lent, as they represent the victory of the Lord over Satan.

Holy days[edit]

There are several holy days within Lent. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The fourth Sunday, Laetare Sunday, marks the half way point of Lent. The fifth Sunday marks the beginning of Passiontide, and is known as Passion Sunday. Holy Week begins on the Sixth Sunday, which is known as Palm Sunday.

The Wednesday of the Holy Week is Spy[note 1] Wednesday, as it reminds us of the Judas betraying Jesus. On Thursday, known as Maundy Thursday, believers celebrate the Last Supper and the agony in the garden. On Friday, known as Good Friday, believers mourn and remember the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. On Saturday, known as Holy Saturday, the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday,[note 2] or Easter Eve, Christians think of Jesus dead in the tomb.

It has been erroneously believed that in 600 CE, Pope Gregory I declared that fetal rabbits were aquatic and therefore "fish", which could be eaten during Lent; his declaration marked the beginning of rabbit domestication.[1] By around 920 CE, Christians began giving up red meat on fasting days for fish and fowl. This marked the beginning of breeding chickens to lay eggs all year-round.[1] An analysis of historical records (the declaration was never written), divergence of bone structure, and genetics indicates that there was no single point of domestication of rabbits in the past 20,000 years.[2]

Not as efficient as some religions[edit]

Jon Stewart once remarked that because Catholicism requires forty days of penitence, it's not as efficient as Judaism which requires only one (celebrated on Yom Kippur).

Similarly, Ramadan lasts only a month, and even then Muslims only fast during the daytime (Muslims engage in large celebratory feasts after sundown, usually with goat meat).


  1. Not to be confused with Spa Wednesday, where it's 20 bucks off facials and massages.
  2. Hence the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.