After the revelry of Carnival, comes the sober time of Lent. Lent is the period of forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The word for Lent in Spanish is Cuaresma, which comes from the word cuarenta, meaning forty, because Lent lasts for forty days (plus six Sundays which are not counted).
For Christians, this is traditionally a time of sobriety and abstinence meant to correspond to the forty days and nights that Jesus spent all alone in the desert.
Many people decide to give up something that they enjoy for Lent. In Mexico it is customary to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday. On this day, the faithful go to church for mass and afterwards people line up to have the priest draw the sign of the cross in ashes on their forehead.
This is a sign of repentance and is meant to remind people of their mortality. In Mexico, many Catholics leave the ashes on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility
Mexican Food for Lent:
Some foods are traditionally associated with Lent in Mexico. It is very common to eat seafood on Fridays; fish and shrimp are both very popular.
Another food commonly eaten during Lent is empanadas de vigilia. These empanadas are made with a flour pastry shell and stuffed with vegetables or seafood.
Dates of Lent:
The dates of Lent vary from year to year as do the dates of Carnival and Easter. In the Western church (as opposed to the Eastern Orthodox church which celebrates on a different date) Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.
The dates of Lent for the coming years are:
- 2018 – February 14 to March 29
- 2019 – March 6 to April 19
- 2020 – February 26 to April 9
- 2021 – February 17 to April 2
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