Millions of Christians around the world will begin a 40-day fast, which sees them cut out treats such as biscuits, crisps, and chocolate until Holy Thursday.
Always held after Shrove Tuesday, Lent marks a time for Christians to prepare for Easter through penance, prayer, and repentance of their sins.
With Lent falling soon, here's all you need to know about the religious observance.
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that finishes at dusk on Holy Thursday. It's a time of preparation for Easter, when the Resurrection of the Lord is celebrated. During Lent, prayer is made by studying the Bible, serving others by giving alms, and developing self-control by fasting.
It’s a 40-day period to commemorate the 40 days Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, before beginning his public ministry.
When is Lent 2023?
Since Lent is held after Shrove Tuesday, the date will change depending on when Easter will be.
It always begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days and 40 nights, until Holy Thursday.
This year, Lent began on February 22 and runs until April 6.
The last week of Lent is Holy Week, which starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday.
Easter Sunday is not part of Lent and is instead a period of celebration to commemorate Christians' belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why is it observed in Christianity?
Lent is a period of self-discipline that is still commemorated by Christians all over the globe as a way to prepare them for Easter, which is considered the holiest day of the year as it commemorates Jesus's resurrection.
Christians use this time to pray and do penance ahead of the Easter holidays, and many abstain from luxuries and commit themselves to fasting as a way to replicate Jesus's sacrifice in the desert and his avoidance of temptation during those 40 days.
It is also marked by a period of self-reflection, asceticism, and repentance and is commemorated by many Christian denominations.
Since it is a period of fasting, rich foods such as butter, meat and milk, and in more recent times, treats such as biscuits, crips, and chocolate, are often cut out for the entire period.
It is why rich foods such as pancakes were historically eaten on this day, as a way for households to use up sugar, fats, and eggs in their cupboards before the fasting season began.
What to give up for Lent
Anything considered a treat or luxury is often cut out for the whole period.
Many decide to stop drinking and smoking throughout Lent, decisions that will make a remarkable difference to your health.
Giving up fizzy drinks is also popular, as they are loaded with sugar and can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Meat is a traditional choice among some Chrisian denominations, with many deciding to cut this out on Fridays, and some churches also recommend cutting back on watching television and movies.