Easter is a holy festival observed by the Christian community throughout the world with great fun and fervor. This religious occasion marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and also welcomes the arrival of the spring season. The day is honored with church services, prayers and hymns. The later part of the day includes partying, feasting and other activities. Traditionally, Lent is the preparation of oneself for the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ during the holy week. This is chiefly done through prayers, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial. All the events linked to the Passion of Christ are recalled during this period. To know more about Easter fasting, read through the following lines.
Lent is the period of forty days prior to Easter Sunday. These forty days represent the time that Jesus Christ had spent in the desert, before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by Satan. The word Lent has been derived from Anglo-Saxon words lencten, which means "spring" and lenctentid which means "springtide" as well as "March". Hence, Lent mostly falls in the month of March. The Easter fast depends on the date of Easter. The fast always begins on a Wednesday, no earlier than 8th February and no later than 14th March. This Wednesday is traditionally known as Ash Wednesday. However, nowadays, it is also called Spy Wednesday, Black or Mad Wednesday.
Initially, different countries observed Lent through different methods. In Jerusalem, people fasted from Monday to Friday, leaving out Saturday and Sunday. Hence, the Lent lasted for eight weeks. On the other hand, people, in Rome and in the West, fasted from Monday through Saturday, thereby making Lent last for six weeks. Eventually, this practice of fasting concluded to six days a week. Moreover, the rules of fasting too varied. Some areas abstained from all forms of meat and animal products, while others made exceptions for foods like fish. However, all the regions had one rule in common. They had only one meal a day, either in the evening or at 3 p.m.
Over the years, modifications were made to the Lenten fasting rules. Fish was allowed and later, even meat was allowed through the week, except on Ash Wednesday and Friday. Today, the fast is observed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of the Lent. People do not eat meat on these days and their meal consists of one small meal with two additional small meals as long as they do not equal a whole meal. Also, solid foods are not consumed between meals. Prayers and sacrificial almsgiving accompanies the fast. The Lent fast is observed by both the baptized and the catechumens (those receiving instructions in the Catholic faith). These practices are undertaken to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare for celebrating the mysteries of our salvation.
Easter fast is observed during the forty days before Easter. Explore this article to know all about lent fasting prior to Easter.