Christian Festival Lent marks the start of the Easter cycle in the Christian Church

Daffodils (Lent Lillies)

When does Lent start and end?

Year Starts on
Ash Wednesday
Ends on
Maundy Thursday
2016 10 February 24 March
2015 18 February 2 April
2014 5 March 17 April

During the 40 days before Easter, Roman Catholics are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures, including the consumption of meat.

This is intended to remember the fasting of Jesus, who spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his ministry.

The word "lent" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'lencten' which literally means "spring". 'Lencten' has a root in the Germanic word for long, which assigned itself to Spring as the days become longer.

In several countries, Lent marks the start of spring.

The wild daffodil (pictured above ) is known as the Lent Lily as it flowers early enough in the year to coincide with the period of Lent.

The Easter period influences a range of festivals and events. The following is an overview of the events. Click the name of the event to read more about an individual event.

Event 2016 Remarks
Carnival 8 February A celebration of the coming of Easter (and Spring) before the period of Lent begins. The name is said to derive from the Latin 'Carne Vale' meaning without flesh referring to no consumption of meat during Lent.
Fasching 8 February Monday before Ash Wednesday.
Shrove Tuesday 9 February Pancake Tuesday/Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).The Tuesday before lent is the last chance to feast for 40 days.
Start of Lent
Ash Wednesday 10 February Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent. The custom was that churchgoers would be marked on the forehead with a cross of ash to symbolise death and regret for past sins.
Mothering Sunday 6 March On the fourth Sunday in Lent in England, families attended the church they were baptised in (their Mother church).
Maundy Thursday 24 March Commemorates Jesus' last supper with his disciples. Lent ends at sundown on Maundy Thursday.
End of Lent
Good Friday 25 March Good Friday occurs on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Holy Saturday 26 March  
Easter Sunday 27 March Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after his death by crucifixion
Ascension Day 5 May Commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven forty days after resurrection.
WhitMonday 16 May Commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles.

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