The Pre-Lenten season has past, and the traditional Carnivals and celebrations like Mardi Gras are over. The Lenten Season is now underway. If you know anything about New Orleans and its customs, you know Lent begins on the Wednesday after Mardi Gras. Lent is a time for spiritual preparation for Easter.
If you are curious about how Lent is Celebrated, or interested in celebrating it yourself, you will find the basics of the celebration in this tutorial. Remember this is just a quick tutorial to get you started; you may want to do further research, especially to find out the customs of your particular religious denomination.
Decoration of the Lenten Season: In the church, and many Christian homes, Purple and white are the color of the season. Alters are draped with purple cloths, usually with a white skirt and Lenten candle wreaths are burned during prayer and observation time. The Lenten candle has six purple candles with the last candle being a brighter shade. Many churches have an extra large white candle in the center, which is reserved for the Easter celebration. The wreaths are often decorated with thorny vines to commemorate Jesus’ crown of thorns.
Begin the Lenten Season on Ash Wednesday: The Wednesday after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter. Many Christian churches observe Ash Wednesday by attending a mass and having their forehead marked by the clergyman. This is especially true of Catholic and many Orthodox denominations. As the priest marks the forehead, he says something to the effect of “you are from dust and unto dust you shall return”. Ash Wednesday may fall anywhere between early February though Early March. You do not have to be marked with ashes to celebrate the Lenten season.
Fasting during the Lenten Season: In addition to having the forehead marked with ashes, the observer enters a period of fasting in which they deny themselves food. They may mean eliminating a meal or two a day, or it may mean eliminating a food group like meat or sweets. Technically, Sundays are a reprieve day from fasting.
Prayer during the Lenten Season: During the Lenten season, the observer will spend more time dedicated to prayer and attending additional church services or masses.
Alms giving during the Lenten Season: This part of the Lenten season is often forgotten; even by the most stringent observer. To give alms is to give gifts or charity to the poor. It is a time to put others first.
The Lenten Season comes to an end with Holy Week: The final week of the Lenten Season calls for special dedication, which will include fasting all day on certain feast days like Good Friday and attending additional services. Good Friday is an especially solemn day as we remember Jesus’ crucifixion.
Easter ends the Lenten Season: Easter is known as the most important feast day of the year for Christians. It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave after his death and burial three days prior. What many may not know is that “Easter” refers to a period of time starting on Easter Sunday. This season lasts for eighty days until the Pentecost feast, which commemorated the time that Jesus walked the earth after his death and resurrection.
To find out more about the celebrating the Lenten Season, you can do further search on the subject. Contact a local Clergy Member for access to a church library. You can even contact Christian Colleges to research the history of the Lenten season. The internet is also a great source of information, but you must always be sure to check the information you find on one website against others.