Lent around the world in 2021

Lent around the world in 2021
Christ in the Wilderness. Image by Briton Riviere , via Guildhall Art Gallery

  Dates of Lent around the world
2022 InternationalMar 2
International Wed, Mar 2Not A Public Holiday
2021 InternationalFeb 17
International Wed, Feb 17Not A Public Holiday
2020 InternationalFeb 26
International Wed, Feb 26Not A Public Holiday
2019 InternationalMar 6
International Wed, Mar 6Not A Public Holiday
2018 InternationalFeb 14
International Wed, Feb 14Not A Public Holiday
  Summary
Lent marks the start of the Easter cycle in the Christian Church
Related holidays

When is Lent?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Maundy Thursday.

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.

Traditions of Lent

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 is known as the Lent Lily as it flowers early enough in the year to coincide with the period of Lent.

The story of Lent is detailed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. According to these texts, after being baptized, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert. 

Jesus was very hungry and very tired when the devil first came to tempt him. The devil knew Jesus was hungry and he wanted to test how strong he was. He tried to make him use his powers to help himself.

First, he told, Jesus, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ But Jesus wasn’t fooled. He knew it was a trap. He told the devil, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Next, the devil took him to the holy city and made him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are really the son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. The scriptures say that God will protect you from harm.’ Jesus answered him, ‘The scriptures also say: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ He knew that Satan was trying to test his faith.

Finally, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their wealth. ‘I will give you all this,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ But Jesus’ faith in God was too strong for him to be tempted. He told the devil, ‘Get away from me, Satan! The scriptures tell us: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’

God was pleased to see how strong Jesus was. The devil left him alone, and angels came to wait on him. He was ready to begin his teachings.

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.

Key Dates in Lent

Event 2020 Remarks
Carnival February 24th 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 February 24th Monday before Ash Wednesday.
Shrove Tuesday February 25th Pancake Tuesday/Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).The Tuesday before lent is the last chance to feast for 40 days.
Start of Lent
Ash Wednesday February 26th 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 March 22nd On the fourth Sunday in Lent in England, families attended the church they were baptised in (their Mother church).
Maundy Thursday April 9th Commemorates Jesus' last supper with his disciples. Lent ends at sundown on Maundy Thursday.
End of Lent
Good Friday April 10th Good Friday occurs on the Friday before Easter. The day commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Holy Saturday April 11th  
Easter Sunday April 12th Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after his death by crucifixion
Ascension Day May 21st Commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven forty days after the resurrection.
Whit Monday Jun 1st Commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles.

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