Lent begins on a different date every year. Lent is the period of preparation for Easter Sunday.
This year Lent beings on Ash Wednesday, February 13th, 2013. Eastern Rite Catholics celebrate the beginning of Lent two days prior on Clean Monday, February 11th, 2013.
What is Lent?
Lent is a Christian observatory period, lasting up to six weeks preceding Easter. Lent is for preparation of the believer. This includes prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Many people commit to fasting and giving up certain luxuries of their lives. Lent usually lasts 40 days in commemoration of the 40 days spent fasting by the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Jesus in the desert. There are specific Lent Rules, pertaining to fasting and abstinence.
Lent fasting and abstinence are often the most followed guidelines or Lent Rules in Western Christianity. Lent has some specific guidelines and rules for fasting during the period of lent. Also forbidden during Lent, also called abstinence, is meat. Not included are eggs, milk products and condiments made from animal fats. Men, ages 18 and 59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Men, 14 years old and above, are forbidden meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent.
Lent fasting has very specific guidelines. Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are supposed to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics 14 years old and older, are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during the length of Lent. Fasting is defined as only participating in one full meal. Food is okay during the day depending on what food is being eaten, how much is eaten, and when an entire meal is eaten. Abstinence during Lent is the forbidden use of meat, but not eggs, milk products, or condiments made with animal fat.