'Lent' meaning in English: What does 'Lent' mean?

What is Lent?

For Christians, Lent is the period of roughly 6 weeks before Easter.

When does Lent start? When is Lent over?

For Roman Catholics, Protestants, and churches of the Western Orthodoxy, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. This is a period of 46 days, but Sundays are not counted as days of fasting, leaving 40 fasting days within Lent. In Eastern Orthodoxy and Byzantine Rite churches, Lent begins on Clean Monday and last 40 days.

The last day of Lent is the day before Easter — Holy Saturday or Holy and Great Saturday.

Lent and fasting

In general, Lent is a somber period of penance, prayer, and reflection preceding the joyful celebration of Easter. A multitude of complicated fasting and abstinence practices have been connected to Lent over the years. The most well-known of these may be Catholics abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent. Even this is complicated by questions of exactly what is considered meat. Fish and seafood are not.

The etymology of ‘Lent’

Yes, “lent” is the past and past participle of “lend,” which is also related to “loan,” but these have nothing to do with the Lenten season

So what is the etymology of “Lent” anyway? What does the word mean? Where did it come from?

According to Wikipedia,

In English, the word used is Lent, which initially meant spring (as in German Lenz and Dutch lente) and derives from the Germanic root for long, because in spring the days visibly lengthen.

There you have it. The days are increasing in length.

There’s nothing religious about the word itself, and no borrowing is involved.

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