As we near the start of the Lenten season, a Christian holiday celebrating the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, several students recently reflected on some of the traditions and celebrations passed down through their families or the Church.
This year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2. Easter Sunday will be celebrated by the Christian community on April 17.
Ash Wednesday’s official name is the Day of Ashes. On Ash Wednesday, many Catholics go to church and receive ashes to symbolize the repentance of their sins. These ashes are worn all day on their foreheads.
These ashes are prepared by burning the palms from the preceding year’s Palm Sunday.
“I feel like some people are always self-conscious about having the ashes on their forehead and some people, right after Mass, they wipe it off,” said freshman Cierra Denny. “After realizing that growing up, I always asked myself: ‘why am I self-conscious about it?’
“I am proud that I am Catholic.”
Lent is intended to serve as a period of reflection and preparation for Easter. It is a time set aside each year to remember the love of God.
“Lent is a little glimpse of the sacrifice that He made, and making the tiniest version of that,” said student Maddie Kline.
A tradition that is celebrated throughout the Christian and Catholic community during the Lenten season is the Stations of the Cross.
“I feel like I’ve always just been close in my relationship with God and I feel like Lent was always that period of time where we kind of just grew together as a family,” said Denny.
During the 40 days of Lent, many Christians give up something of importance to them as a small sacrifice.
Catholics are asked to refrain from eating meat every Friday during the Lenten season. This is meant to mirror, in a small way, Jesus’ sacrifice in the 40 days that He was in the desert.
“I haven’t really thought about what I am going to give up,” said Denny. “Right now, I am on a break from Instagram, which is fantastic.
“I am going to try to give that up, or I am going to switch it to TikTok.”
Traditions vary from family to family and what people give up is typically something of a personal nature to them.
“I usually end up giving up junk food,” said Kline, “and I usually try to do a prayer devotional every day.”
The Lenten season will conclude with Holy Week, followed by Easter Sunday.