After a long, cold winter, spring is all about renewal and rebirth. Beyond the joys of egg decorating, Easter brunches, and family traditions, the real reason Christians celebrate the season is to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In preparation for this holy day, the Lenten season has been observed for centuries as a time for self-examination, fasting, and spiritual renewal and growth. Lent is observed in many faiths including Roman Catholicism, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist and others.
So, when is Lent this year? Here’s everything you need to know about when Lent starts and ends in 2022.
When does Lent start in 2022?
Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday. Although scholars debate about exactly how the word evolved, “Lent” likely has Germanic roots and is derived from the word lencten, meaning “spring” or “springtime” or “March”—which is the month that the majority of Lent typically falls within. This year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday on March 2, 2022.
How long is Lent?
In Western religions, such as Roman Catholicism, Lent includes a 40-day fast, with Sundays excluded (because they’re already considered feast days). In some Eastern churches, such as Orthodox, Lent begins on the Monday of the seventh week before Easter, and ends on the Friday nine days before Easter for a period of 40 days known as “Great Lent.”
The number 40 is significant throughout the Bible: On Mount Sinai, Moses stayed for 40 days and nights without eating or drinking (Exodus 34:28). Elijah walked 40 days and nights to the mountain of the Lord (I Kings 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights in the desert before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4:2)
When does Lent end?
In some faith’s traditions, Lent ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. However, for other faiths such as Roman Catholicism, Lent ends at sundown on Thursday, April 14, 2022, which is the day known as Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples. The three days from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday are known separately as the Triduum, a three-day long liturgy, or official rites. For many Christians, it’s the most sacred liturgy of the year.
Why do the dates for Lent change every year?
The dates for Lent change every year because the dates for Easter change every year. Easter is considered a movable religious feast that is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the start of spring, or the spring equinox. More simply put, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon of springtime. That means Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25. By Christian tradition, Lent is always 46 days before Easter Sunday, so we count back six weeks to determine the start of Lent.
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