A brief history of Lent:
Lent can be traced back to nearly the very beginning of Christian practice. In almost all practicing religions, there is historical evidence of a Lent season.
Each religious denomination practices Lent a bit differently, however, prayer, penance, repentance and sacrifice are part of nearly all worship during Lent.
Other religious traditions formed; some include making altars or holding grand processions. In most early instances, Lent was a time when new followers prepared to accept Christ and be baptized.
The preparation for new followers was much more intense than it is today. Many times those who were preparing fasted for days at a time, said Deacon Chuck Skoro campus Catholic Minister at St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
Holy Thursday, or Easter Eve marked—and still marks— the end of Lent for most denominations. At the end of Lent those who were preparing to accept Christ were baptized. People who had already committed their lives to Christ began observing Lent as a way to experience spiritual growth. The faithful believe this is a time to be more in tune with God’s word. Preparation for baptism and spiritual growth are the reasons then, and now, for devoting oneself to Lent.
“If it brings you closer to God, then that’s the point of it,” said Sam Howell, senior civil engineer major.
The word Lent is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “lencten” meaning spring or March.
The duration of Lent:
Lent lasts 40 days. The 40 days is symbolic of the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting and praying before he began his public ministry.
Lent begins after “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras, officailly commencing on the following day—Ash Wednesday.
Lent runs from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday or Easter Eve (in most denominations). Different denominations observe 40 days differently. Some churches do not include Sunday in the 40 days, others do not include Saturday or Sunday.
The Practice of Lent:
There are many different denominations who practice the Lenten tradition. Lent’s main purpose is to bring the believer closer to Christ through prayer, fasting, and sacrifice. As Lent approaches believers ponder areas of their lives and choose a vice to sacrifice.
Deacon Chuck Skoro explained that Lent is a time of self-reflection; a time to think about “who I am and who I want to become.”
People give up anything from Diet Coke, to Facebook, or sweets. Some people work at freeing themselves from addictions and others have other very personal goals of sacrifice. Giving up a vice is symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice, Christ’s life for the sins of the world.
Freshman accounting and finance major Heather Corisis made a broad commitment and said, “I am just trying to better myself,” more specifically she decided to “give up unnecessary stuff like Starbucks and dessert.”
Lent means forfeiting a luxury or something that is not essential, but it can also mean adding or changing something that is lacking. For example, a person could commit to having a more positive outlook.
One student aimed to change a habit, Kylie Dierksiede, a junior nursing major, said she decided to give up saying “like” so much.
Another possibility would be changing an existing relationship in a favorable way. Kate Connelly from Boise State Human Resources stated she uses this time as a time for more prayer in her life.
Skoro shared a story of giving up giving in to anger in his home.
“(It) transformed my family, transformed my marriage and transformed my relationship with my daughters,”
In addition to individual Lent commitments there are a few Lent traditions many followers adhere to. One such tradition is giving up meat on Fridays. People around campus have noticed that when they eat out on Fridays less people are ordering dishes with meat.
According to twitter the top five things people were giving up for Lent this year are: