Lent is called great because it is a period of strict abstinence that Christians observe while experiencing the sufferings of Christ. This event is linked to Easter, which is held on a sliding calendar, so Christians can calculate on their own what date Lent will take place in 2021.
How the start is calculated
Weeks in the Church Slavonic language are called weeks. The whole year of the believer is divided into weeks. The first week is the week after Easter. Thus, Lent ends the Christian year. Easter is calculated according to the solar-lunar calendar. It takes into account the day of the spring equinox on March 21 and the time of the full moon. But for some reason, it takes into account the old chronology, in which the day of the spring equinox on the Church calendar is considered April 4. The main Christian fast is not held earlier than this day.
Another rule you should know when calculating the Christian Easter: it is never held before the Jewish Passover. If such a coincidence occurs, then the next full moon is taken into account.
Easter is celebrated on the first full moon after the vernal equinox. In 2021, the moon will show its full face on Tuesday, April 27. This means that the main holiday of Orthodox Christians will begin on Sunday, may 2. We subtract 7 weeks from this day, or 49 days, and get March 14. This is the last day of the celebration of cheese and pancake Maslenitsa. Thus, Lent in 2021 will begin on Monday, March 15.
By the way, Great lent intersected with Maslenitsa, a favorite celebration of pagan Slavs, dedicated to the sun and seeing off winter. Christians, in order not to deprive themselves of their favorite holiday and not to violate Christian canons, moved Shrovetide. Now great lent is preceded by Shrovetide week with its fat and sour cream pancakes, trips to visit, dancing and lighting bonfires.
History of occurrence
Lent was established in memory of the event when Christ fasted for 40 days in the desert before beginning his Ministry. The first Christians observed fasting on Easter day. It lasted 40 day and 40 night hours, or 3.3 days. In the third century, the fast was extended to 40 days. This was influenced by the appearance of new Gentile converts among the priests, who decided to celebrate the Christian Passover after the Jewish one.
The first posts were very strict. They assumed eating once a day in the evening. They were supposed to eat a little bread with vegetables, without butter. This meal is called dry eating. On Monday and Tuesday of the first week, a complete refusal of food followed. It was assumed that during the fast, time and money were released, which should be devoted to serving God, reading prayers, and giving money to the poor.
A small relief was allowed on Saturday and Sunday. It consisted in increasing the number of meals, and a small variety of menus. But such strictures led to the physical weakening of people, to the inability to fulfill their duties. Therefore, the canons of fasting were slightly changed.
The preparation of the believers
Preparation for the Great Council begins 4 weeks before it starts. Each of the weeks has names associated with events that took place during the stay of Jesus Christ on earth.
- The Week Of Zacchaeus.The event is described in the gospel of Luke in Chapter 19; 1-10. This week, Orthodox Christians remember the short, sinful Zacchaeus, who was so eager to get closer to God that he achieved his goal. Jesus went into the house of the chief tax collector and blessed him.
- The week of the publican and the Pharisee.In churches, starting this week, the Lenten Triodion is sung, penitential troparia are read. The Church reminds us of when a tax collector who condemns and sincerely repents was justified, exalted by God, and a self-exalting Pharisee, on the contrary, was condemned.
- It’s a solid week.During this week, it is allowed to eat fast (lean) food. The Church seems to be trying to tell the faithful that blindly following the canons causes spiritual harm.
- A week dedicated to the prodigal son.This week, the chanting of the 136th Psalm is added to the regular Psalms.
The penultimate Sunday before lent is dedicated to the last judgment. On this day, believers remember the expulsion of Adam and eve from Paradise. This is the last day when it is still allowed to eat meat. The last week is called cheese week, because this week you can eat dairy products, but you can’t eat meat anymore. This week coincides with Shrovetide, when Orthodox people prepare and consume a lot of pastries.
The last Sunday on the eve of lent is called forgiven. On this day, Orthodox people should forgive others all offenses. On Wednesday and Friday, only one meal is served-in the evening. On these days, the divine Liturgy is not celebrated at the Service, and the penitential prayers of Ephraim the Syrian and other well-known theologians are read in churches.
Significant days of great lent
Great lent lasts 48 days. The first Monday is called pure Monday. In the old days, on this day, Christians cleansed the house from the spirit of Maslenitsa, a thorough cleaning of the house was carried out. Then red-hot bricks, stone, and embers were carried around all the rooms, on which vinegar or mint diluted in water was sprayed. After cleaning, people washed in the sauna. The first week of lent was popularly called Fyodor’s week, and the Church called it the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
During Lent, the following events occur::
- Holy lent (full 40 days).
- Lazareva Saturday. Believers remember the resurrection of Lazarus by Christ. This event is celebrated on the sixth Saturday of Great lent.
- Palm Sunday, associated with the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.
- Holy week (the last week of lent dedicated to the sufferings of Christ).
The services of these days have some special features. On Lazarus Saturday, palm Sunday, and Holy week, it is necessary to attend Church and remember the deeds and sufferings of the Lord our God, Jesus Christ.
The rules of lent
The time of great lent is a special period in the life of a Christian. Great lent imposes certain obligations, requirements and rules on the believer. These rules apply not only to the diet.
What can and should be done
The days of worship are a time of purification of the soul and thoughts from sinful aspirations. At this time, you must:
- go to Church as often as possible;
- repent of your sins;
- show mercy and kindness to others.
It is recommended and useful for the soul to read spiritual literature, the Lives of saints, the Gospels, and learn about the life of Christ. It is no secret that many Christians have a vague idea of the essence of faith. It is necessary to show compassion and help those who need help.
The rules of lent:video
What you can’t do during Lent
During lent, you can not:
- have fun;
- eat too much;
- indulge in sins.
Entertainment distracts the mind from spiritual development, from knowledge. During the days of fasting, you can not go to clubs, watch entertainment and music programs on TV, you can not kill time for games or idle chatter on the Internet, on the phone.
On the days of fasting, food can be nutritious and healthy without meat, animal fats, or milk. Prepare various cereals with dried fruits, lean borscht with the addition of beans, pea, rice, pearl barley soups, etc. Great lent takes place in spring, when the first greenery breaks through in the southern and Central latitudes of America. Prepare green borscht with sorrel, nettle, spinach. For those who want to lose weight, the Lenten diet will be useful. After all, all animal food is excluded from it. Pay attention to the amount of food you eat. Remember that gluttony is a great sin. You should not be angry, envious, commit adultery, indulge in laziness, despondency, be greedy, greedy.