What should I give up for Lent? From smoking to social media

Sadly the indulgence of Pancake Day is over, which means Lent is here and the run up to Easter has begun.

Today (26 Feb) is Ash Wednesday, which is an important day in the Christian calendar, as it marks the beginning of Lent. In the religion, Lent is a period of reflection during which many people give something up as a sign of sacrifice, alongside testing their self discipline.

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When does Lent end?

Lent begins each year on Ash Wednesday - the date varies each year because the date of Easter changes, too. The date of Easter changes because it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon, following or on the vernal equinox.

Lent for most people lasts for 40 days, until Maundy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter weekend. This year, Maundy Thursday falls on Thursday 9 April, meaning that Lent ends on that date, while Easter lands on Sunday 12 April.

The actual length of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter is 46 days, but some Christians believe that Sundays are excluded from Lent as they are traditionally days of rest and feast. Some Christians also consider Lent over either at sundown on Holy Saturday or during Easter Sunday.

What do people give up for Lent?

Lent is often marked by people fasting or giving up a bad habit in the run up to Easter. This is said to replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.

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You can give up as much or little as you like, as long as it’s something you find challenging. Most people give up things like junk food or alcohol.

Here are a few suggestions for Lent 2020

AlcoholChocolateSocial mediaCaffeineComplainingMake-upShoutingCondimentsThe snooze buttonTrollingSoft drinksSmoking

The tradition of fasting goes back to 325 AD.