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Lenten sacrifice

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Many Christians choose to practice teetotalism during Lent, thus giving up alcoholic beverages during the liturgical season.[1][2]

A Lenten sacrifice is a spiritually motivated voluntary renunciation of a pleasure or luxury that most Christians (especially Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Moravians and the United Protestants) give up for the observance of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday.[3][4] The tradition of Lent has its roots in Jesus Christ praying and fasting for forty days in the desert according to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. When Lent is over and Easter Sunday arrives, the faithful are able to indulge in what they sacrificed during the Lenten season.[5][6][7]

Christian denominations often set certain requirements for the practice of fasting, such as those found in Pope Paul VI's apostolic constitution Paenitemini in the Catholic Church and the Book of Common Prayer in Anglicanism, for example. In addition to observing special laws regarding fasting, other forms of asceticism and penance are also recommended. The faithful are encouraged to practice prayer more intensively and to take part more in church services and devotions (e.g. the Way of the Cross). Likewise, they should do more works of mercy and give alms.[8][9] Such a penance or a good work, like a tangible financial donation given as an offering during Lent, is called a Lenten sacrifice.

Common Lenten sacrifices include abstaining from pleasures such as chocolate, sugar, sweets, alcohol, or soda.[10][6] Some Christians choose to practice temperance throughout the Lenten season, thus giving up alcoholic beverages;[11][12][13] in light of this, temperance drinks experience a surge of popularity during the Lenten season.[14] Others, on the first day of Lent, pledge to give up sinful behaviours, such as using profanity, and hope to permanently rid themselves of these habits even after the arrival of Eastertide.[15] While making a Lenten sacrifice, it is customary for Christians to pray for strength to keep it; many often wish others for doing so as well, e.g. "May God bless your Lenten sacrifice."[16][17]

Many Christians sacrifice the eating of meat and commit to vegetarianism for the entire Lenten season.[18][19] It is commonplace for many Christians (especially Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Methodists) to observe the Friday Fast throughout Lent, which includes abstaining from meat on the Fridays of Lent.[20][21][22]

Some Christian clergy, both Roman Catholic and Methodist, have encouraged the faithful not to give up social media for Lent as they believe that Christians can use social media for evangelism.[23][24][25]

In addition to making their Lenten sacrifice, many Christians choose to add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves nearer to God.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McCleskey, Clayton (24 March 2011). "Methodists Shun The Bottle During Alcohol-Free Lent". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  2. ^ McDuff, Mallory (4 April 2013). "After Giving up Alcohol, I'm Addicted to Lent". Sojourners. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  3. ^ Hines-Brigger, Susan. "Lent: More Than Just Giving Up Something". Franciscan Media. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Lent" (PDF). Lutheran Church of Our Saviour. 2022. p. 15. Retrieved 1 March 2022. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in imitation of Jesus Christ's sacrifice during his journey into the desert for 40 days; this is known as one's Lenten sacrifice.
  5. ^ Stubbs, Thomas (26 February 2022). "Forum on Faith: Lent: A time for 'making sure'". NewsTimes. Retrieved 2 March 2022. I knew part of the answer involved a tradition where everybody had to "give up" something from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.
  6. ^ a b Mortimer, Caroline (10 February 2016). "The top 10 things most people will (try) to give up for Lent". The Independent. Retrieved 17 March 2019. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent - the festival where people give up a guilty pleasure for 40 days until Easter Sunday. Lent marks the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.
  7. ^ Babauta, Chloe B. (15 April 2017). "Catholics reflect on their Lenten sacrifices". Pacific Daily News. Retrieved 1 March 2022. Giving something up is a practice to purify us and prepare us for the celebration of Easter Sunday, so it's a way for us to connect and understand more about Christ and God.
  8. ^ "Giving 'alms,' and other acts of charity, during Lent". Catholic Philly. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  9. ^ Reumann, Amy (10 February 2016). "Lent Out Loud: Ash Wednesday". Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  10. ^ Marina Watts, Why Do People Make Sacrifices During Lent?, https://www.newsweek.com/why-do-people-make-sacrifices-during-lent-1569609
  11. ^ Bryant, Tony (25 February 2022). "Pancake Day: a typically British tradition". Diario Sur. Retrieved 1 March 2022. some Christians choose to practice temperance – refraining from drinking alcohol - throughout the Lenten season.
  12. ^ "Drink less this Lent". Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. 22 February 2009. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  13. ^ Gilbert, Kathy L. (21 February 2012). "Could you go alcohol-free for Lent?". United Methodist News Service. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  14. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (11 February 2016). "Alcohol-free: why temperance drinks are making a comeback". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  15. ^ Byrnes, Katie (19 April 2016). "I Gave Up Swearing For Lent". The Odyssey Online.
  16. ^ "What is Shrove Tuesday ? Meaning, Traditions, and 2021 Date". Christianity.com. Retrieved 16 February 2021. While undergoing a Lenten sacrifice, it is helpful to pray for strength ; and encouraging fellow Christians in their fast saying, for example: "May God bless your Lenten sacrifice."
  17. ^ "Prayer for Lenten Sacrifice". Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  18. ^ Freston, Kathy (5 September 2013). "God, Christianity and Meat". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Veg for Lent". Christian Vegetarian Association. 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  20. ^ Crowther, Jonathan (1815). A Portraiture of Methodism: Or, The History of the Wesleyan Methodists. T. Blanshard. pp. 251, 257.
  21. ^ Weitzel, Thomas L. (1978). "A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  22. ^ John Wesley (1825). The Sunday Service of the Methodists. J. Kershaw. p. 145. Days of Fasting or Abstinence All the Fridays in the Year, except Christmas-Day
  23. ^ Olivia, John (18 February 2019). "Please Don't Give Up Social Media For Lent". Busted Halo. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  24. ^ Smith, Jeremy (19 February 2015). "Would a Missionary Give Up Swahili for Lent?". UM Insight. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  25. ^ Schiffer, Kathy (1 March 2017). "Giving Up Facebook for Lent? Please Reconsider…". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  26. ^ Crumm, David. Our Lent, 2nd Edition. ISBN 1934879509.
  27. ^ Ambrose, Gill; Craig-Wild, Peter; Craven, Diane; Moger, Peter (5 March 2007). Together for a Season. Church House Publishing. p. 34. ISBN 9780715140635.

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