Mike from Cadillac asked
about the word Lent. In certain Christian circles, Lent is now the
period including 40 weekdays extending from Ash Wednesday to Easter-eve,
observed as a time of fasting and penitence.
The early Church did not at first agree upon the date of
Easter, much less the amount of fasting that should go on, or even what one
should fast from. By the 6th
century, ecclesiastical law decreed that Easter should be celebrated on the first
Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. By then, a forty-day
Lent had been deemed symbolically significant, no doubt influenced by accounts
about Moses (Exodus 34:28), Elias (1 Kings 19:8), and Jesus (Matthew 4:2).
Lent came from an Old English word, lencten, that simply meant spring. The ecclesiastical sense of Lent
eventually took over in English, but allied Germanic words retained the
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