When is Lent?
Lent lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays). It is the time when Christians prepare for Easter by thinking of the things they have done wrong. It is a solemn time which reminds them of the time in Jesus' life when, after giving up his work as a carpenter, he began to teach people about God. Jesus prepared for this by spending 40 days without food alone in the desert.
Lent used to be a time for fasting or going without food as Jesus had done. Nowadays many people give up a favourite thing they enjoy like sweets and often give money to charity.
The colour purple is linked to Lent. In some churches the altar is covered with a purple cloth, the pulpit has a purple 'fall' and the vicar's garments are purple.
Purple is chosen for two reasons. Firstly, it is the colour associated with mourning and so it helps Christians think about the sadness of Jesus’ death. Secondly, the colour purple is linked to royalty and so it celebrates Christ’s coming as a King.
The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday.