Lent (Latin: Quadragesima: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial.
This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic Churches. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as “giving up” certain luxuries in order to “replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days.” Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.
The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ’s carrying the Cross and of his execution, are often observed. Many Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches remove flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols are often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event.
Throughout Christendom, some adherents mark the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat, most notably among Roman Catholics. However, most would resort to the consumption of seafood as an alternative. This would include the consumption of highly endangered sharks during this 40 day period of abstinence from meat. Why not celebrate Lent without sharks on our plate? There are many other sources of fish that are highly sustainable or we could shift to having more vegetables. Remember, the small sacrifices we make will mean a whole lot for the environment and the perpetuation of species. Sacrifices, isn’t this what Lent is all about?