Lent is the season Catholics celebrate before Easter. Catholics give up something for 40 days and 40 nights right before Easter Sunday. This is a season where Catholics fast from something they are dependent on, such as soda, sweets, a bad habit, etc.
The meaning of this is so we can recognize what Jesus did for us, and do something for Him in return. Since Jesus suffered on the cross for us, we suffer for 40 days and 40 nights by giving up something extremely important or difficult.
You do not have to be Catholic to participate!
Lent is a tradition specific to Catholicism; the only other denominations that really celebrate it is Lutheran and Orthodox. However, many other non-denominational Christian churches have adapted the tradition of fasting around the same time Catholics celebrate lent. Many of these other churches don’t recognize their fasting as “lent” but it is the same idea.
In fact, you don’t have to be Christian to give up something for Lent.
In many instances in the Bible, such as in Luke, Matthew, Daniel, Samuel, and many others, people put ashes on their foreheads when they mourned, so Catholics receive ashes in the sign of a cross on our head to mourn Jesus’s death and suffering on the cross, and our own sins which caused Jesus that suffering.
“ So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”
In the Bible, Jesus encouraged us to fast. Catholics do a similar fast where every Friday of lent; we do not eat meat because Friday was the day of the week that Jesus was crucified. Though we do not eat meat on every Friday of lent, we can eat fish because fish are a symbol of God.
For many people, this may seem unnecessary, Jesus loves us no matter what. But if the least I can do for Jesus, who gave me life and died on the cross for me, is giving up something for 40 days, I'm going to do it.