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Lent - Definition of Lent

The season of preparation for Easter

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Ash Wednesday 2008 at Saint Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

A woman prays after receiving ashes on her forehead in observance of Ash Wednesday at Saint Louis Cathedral, February 6, 2008, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Definition: Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday and one of the major liturgical seasons of the Catholic Church. A penitential season marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence, and almsgiving, Lent begins on either Ash Wednesday (for Latin Rite Catholics and those Protestants who observe Lent) or Clean Monday (for Eastern Rite Catholics and Eastern Orthodox) and ends on either Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday. (For more details, see When Does Lent End?)

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FAQs About Lent:

More FAQs About Lent:

Pronunciation: lent

Also Known As: Great Lent, Great and Holy Lent

Common Misspellings: Lint, Lend

Examples: "In order better to prepare ourselves for Easter, my children and I always give up television for Lent."

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