The season of Lent is about 40 days from Carnaval until Easter. It’s the period of forty days of reflection, looking forward to Jesus’ death and resurrection. The period of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday, which finishes the festive of Carnaval.
Where Carnaval is often an overflowing celebration, Lent is a modest time. Historically, Carnaval was also meant to empty the kitchen so you are ready for the time of fasting. Many Christians will live a more temperate lifestyle than usual and often you see people starting with fasting. It is a preparation for Good Friday (where people remember that Jesus died on the cross) and Easter (where people celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead).
Why forty days?
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” Forty days is a period often mentioned in the Bible and here it represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan and where he was prepared for his baptism and ministry.
Repentance and fasting
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for their baptism of Easter.
Today, you see Christians focussing on their relationship with God and often they choose to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. You can imagine giving up a meal, but also modern ways of fasting are introduced lately like stopping use Social Media during the time of Lent.
The Sundays are not counted in the forty days. This is because the church celebrates the Sundays as mini-Easter. On the Sundays, there’s already the joyful anticipation of the resurrection of Christ!