Answer: 40 – It is a period of fasting and penance in preparation for Easter
Yesterday was the first day of Lent, the forty-day period of fasting which is the lead-up to Easter in the Christian Church (if you’d like to know its origins click here). But even if you are not religious, you may still mark the occasion in your own way – and I don’t just mean by eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday!
In times past Lent was a time for prayer, almsgiving and for abstaining from both food and fun. It may well still be so for those with a devout faith but for the majority of Christians it has become a time for temporarily giving up one of their vices. This may be alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate or anything else which is bad for our physical, mental or spiritual health.
Even for those of us who do not share the Christian faith, Lent can be a good time to take stock of our lives. Similar to making resolutions at the beginning of a New Year, Lent is a time for us to look at ourselves and try to change whichever aspect of our behaviour we are not happy with, whether we want to lose weight, spend less money or do more to help those less fortunate. But I don’t think it should necessarily be about cutting things out – why not make more time for the things that do us good?
I know some of my own vices: procrastination and laziness being the worst! I did manage to give up cigarettes just over a year ago so I know that abstention can be very difficult. I think the key is our frame of mind. If we believe that we are denying ourselves then we make it much harder. If we can replace our vices with other things we enjoy then it’s not quite so much of a struggle.
Want to give up sitting in front of the TV and get more active? Then fill the time you would have spent lounging with an activity you enjoy like golf or just going for a walk.
Want to stop smoking? Concentrate on the benefits it brings like good health and longer life.
Want to stop swearing? Take pleasure in the English language and the myriad ways that you can express yourself without resorting to foul language.
These are just a few examples but the idea is the same however you decide to improve yourself.
Have your children given anything up for lent? Why not ask them? This may be an opportunity to ‘persuade’ them to drop some of their bad habits. Whatever you’ve decided to cut out of your life, we at Education Quizzes wish you every success!