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What is Lent?

Self-denial during a period of religious devotion is a long-standing tradition in both Eastern and Western churches. The season of Lent was fixed at 40 days during the ninth century (with Sundays omitted). Lent is a shortened form of Lenten, which comes from an Anglo-Saxon word (lencten) meaning 'spring' or 'lengthening days'. The word first meant 'the season of spring'. It is now a period of preparation for Easter and a time to strengthen one's faith through repentance and prayer. Lent has been observed with periods of fasting, abstinence from meat, dairy products, wine, etc.; and other penitential activities. It is a modern custom for Christians to "give up something for Lent" such as a favorite food, pleasure, or activity.

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