Lent me a Hand: What is This Observance?

by Taylor Childs
   “I’m going through sugar withdrawal,” junior Michelle Majeski said.
   Have you heard this before or complaints like it? Know why your friends are giving up their vices and abstaining from meat? Lent has begun! But what is Lent exactly?
   Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a time of self -examination and reflection.  Beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, Lent lasts 40 days, not including Sundays.
   Observers of this tradition are predominately all Eastern Christians (Orthodox), all Roman Catholics, and some Protestant denominations.
   During this time, observers abstain from the consumption of meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all remaining Fridays. These are marked as Fasting Days, and some observers refrain from snacking between meals.
   Historically, the 40 days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness and the practice of fasting was meant to help unify people who could afford meat with poor people who couldn’t. The name Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, meaning “spring.”
   In addition to refraining from eating meat, Lent is often a time when Christians give up something pleasurable, resisting their temptations as Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan in the wilderness.
   Currently, a trend among youth observers is health and fitness. Many MHS students are participating in Lent this year, just as they had in previous years.
   Sophomore Samantha McQueen said she is giving up sweets, cookies and junk food, Junior Caitlin Brown in giving up fast food, Junior Molly Tieman is giving up chips, and Junior Katelyn Lowe is bringing her lunch every day. 
   Junior Zach Benge is also giving up desserts and candy.
   “I want to start eating better, and Lent seemed a good place to start,” Benge said.
   Majeski is giving up pop.
    “It’s an addiction,” Majeski said. “I rely on it. Last year it was gum and pop.”
   Just as many others, Majeski has been observing since she was little.
    “When I was younger, in middle school, it was to eat veggies at every meal,” Majeski said.
   Junior Sydney Kanouse, giving up sweets, candy, and most baked goods, has been observing for about 15 years with her whole family.
   “Kind of what you give up helps you in what you lack,” Kanouse said.
   Unhealthy foods aren’t the only option. Last year, junior Jacob Tooley reduced his video game and TV time to only five hours.
   “It’s my Christian duty,” Tooley said.
   Sophomore Elizabeth Brock is refraining from fighting with her mother.
  “Me and my mom fight a lot, so we decided to be nice to each other,” Brock said.
   Another observer is participating not because of religion, but solely for the challenge. Junior Jade Broer is giving up milk, soda, meat, junk food, and biting her nails.
  “I do it every year just for the challenge,” Broer said.  
   Lent will last until Holy Saturday, which is on March 30th this year.
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