Is giving stuff up for Lent a Catholic thing? Or do other Christian faiths do it too?

(58 Posts)
Jacksmania Tue 21-Feb-12 00:16:55

Just curious. Does anyone know?

And what's everyone giving up for Lent?

What are you meant to give up, anyway? And why are you meant to give anything up? It's all over FB what everyone is giving up and it's things like chocolate, meat, or sarcasm in one case grin - just wondering if that's really the spirit of the whole thing?

(More questions will no doubt pop up in JM's fertile brain.)

notpodd Tue 21-Feb-12 06:59:27

<gasps in surprise due to being in a religion post>

Disclaimer This is coming from a place of ignorance. I am neither Catholic nor Christian, but went to a Catholic school.

I thought it was a Catholic thing - and I remember clearly at school having drilled down our throats that Lent is about suffering, just as Christ as suffered, and acknowledging that one is a sinner and Christ died to save you. Giving up a vice is not so much the point, its not supposed to be an opportunity for self improvement (because lots of the girls would give up chocolate in hope of losing weight). You are supposed to sacrifice something you will really miss, and if it allows you to save money you should give that money to charity. So sarcasm isn't really in the full spirit of things either and would make ones posts rather boring I think the chocolate thing comes from kids, as when you are little the concept of Lent is quite tricky and is introduced at Sunday school with the giving up of sweets and chocolate.

<skulks off, hoping she doesn't offend any proper Catholics with this post>

LoonyRationalist Tue 21-Feb-12 10:46:18

No I don't think it is just catholics - many christians observe lent I think.

I was explaining lent to dd1 (because she was asking about pancake day) She decided to give up arts and crafts (which she really loves). I intervened because she spends half her time making little books and crafts; I would not know what to do with her if she gave them up; so she decided to give up avocados instead (dd1 hates avocados!!) Not quite as much of a sacrifice but much better for my sanity!

Kaloobear Tue 21-Feb-12 10:50:05

Anglicans do too. Though they don't get Sundays off and Catholics do. (I think.)

Hi Jacks I found it!
I was brought up RC but am now Anglican. Both give up stuff for Kent, although my church also advocates taking up new things for Lent, such as daily bible reading or helping out a neighbour.
I gave up cheese one year, chocolate another, and tea another, alcohol too. Tea was definitely the worst, I had a 2 day headachesad

People give things up as a form of fasting. The reasoning is that you forsake your other "idols" to concentrate on God more in the weeks leading up to Easter.
Pancake day was a way of using up perishable foods before fasting.
I knew someone from a very evangelical church who gave up food for lent shock! He lost about a stone, but his health really suffered.

startail Tue 21-Feb-12 12:19:58

My CofE PIL did.
variously, chocolate, alcohol and I think DMIL gave up coffee.

The best on I've ever managed was giving up using the lifts at university. Since I'm the least punctual person on the planet it was very good for me. I had to be much more organised to ensure I didn't arrive in a puffing heap with everyone watching.

startail Tue 21-Feb-12 12:21:31

Looking at the clock and the amount of things that need doing I think I ought to give up MN!

HallelujahHeisBorntoMary Tue 21-Feb-12 13:28:14

Whats wrong with giving up sarcasm? grin I'm doing it to try to re-educate my brain into not looking to make fun of people or situations, to watch what I say before I speak, and hence I think its a good thing. Its also not that easy!

Jacksmania Tue 21-Feb-12 14:30:01

Well Mary, your post made me think about giving up raising my voice when I'm aggravated with DS so I really thank you for the thought and honestly admire the spirit behind it.
It also made me grin so thanks for the giggle!

MarynotBeSarcastic Tue 21-Feb-12 15:13:14

grin, I've written an article for our village magazine about giving up sarcasm, so hopefully it'll make a few more people giggle. And YOUR thread inspired me to change to a new name for Lent grin

harrietspy Mon 11-Feb-13 14:23:16

I'm giving up screens, i.e. all internet and television (except for a bit of strictly ringfenced email time each day). I did it last year. It was hard and brilliant. I wanted to be more mindful of my behaviour and not just automatically go online or watch telly when I feel crap/stressed/sad/lonely/anxious/bored.

The side effects were great: I got more work done, was more organised, read books, went to bed earlier, was more focused on my dc...

I go to a very liberal C of E church that accommodates people like me who think that faith is more about mystery than certainty. I like rituals. Abstinence in Lent makes more space in my head. Lent isn't about suffering for me, just putting to one side things that can be 'false refuges'.

My C of E vicar friend says that Anglicans do get Sundays off (although I prefer not to do that).

Empress77 Mon 11-Feb-13 14:27:41

definitely not just catholics, and its not meant to be about suffering but a time for contemplation. smile

I'm C of E. I'm giving up bread this year. It makes me think - harriet's description is good.
I don't take Sundays off.

crescentmoon Mon 11-Feb-13 14:33:05

I think lent is harder in a way because you give something up for the whole 40 days - give or take 3 Sunday's? 4 Sunday's? As a Muslim the Ramadan fast is abstinence in the day then gorge yourself that night- I just stumble along knowing come sunset that day I can have what I like. Easier than giving up sugar for the whole month entirely!

eminemmerdale Mon 11-Feb-13 14:41:35

I don't have any religion but always try to give something up for Lent - just as a way of proving my own strength. Have also persuaded the dc to give up things they like - to show them that sometimes it is possible to live a life without being able to have everything they want on tap, as it were. <dd7's idea of giving up 'mulligatawny', which she had seen written down and had no idea what it was did need some working on though>

niminypiminy Mon 11-Feb-13 15:36:57
KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 11-Feb-13 15:41:57

It's a Christian thing. But at my Catholic school we were taught to try to do a good deed instead every day which I like a bit better.

Gingerdodger Mon 11-Feb-13 15:48:05

I know loads of people who give things up for lent who are neither catholic or religious in any way but see it as an incentive to cut something out.

Personally like the idea of doing something rather than giving up, although last year I gave up buying something I love and donated the money I would have spent. I also try and make sure I give time to working through some Lent readings.

crescentmoon Mon 11-Feb-13 15:50:23

watched that video through niminy it was really nice i didnt know much. 40 days is very significant to us as well - keep a good deed up for 40 days and it is then seen to have become a habit and part of one's personality. but very hard to make it to for 40 days straight in the first place!

niminypiminy Mon 11-Feb-13 16:14:44

Agree crescentmoon! I think Ramadan must be very hard - especially when it's in summer and the days are long - but it must be really special that all Muslims are doing this at the same time -- you are part of a community which in turn is part of a much bigger community, all brought together by fasting, praying and breaking your fast together.

Northey Mon 11-Feb-13 16:27:08

I wonder where this "having Sundays off" thing has come from. It's certainly not something that was known in my (quite extended) Catholic community when I was young. Or even in my more limited catholic community now. But I've recently heard a few (non-Catholic) people saying that Catholics get Sundays off. Any Catholics here who actually do this??

CaffeineAndKeyboards Mon 11-Feb-13 16:34:22

I'm CofE and add things in rather than give a food up as I've had ( and probably still have) an eating disorder and I'll end up obsessing which will be good for nothing. Learnt by experience there!

CaffeineAndKeyboards Mon 11-Feb-13 16:36:14

All Sundays are supposed to be a celebration of the Resurrection which is why the Sundays off thing. But I know nothing RC specific.

Moominsarehippos Mon 11-Feb-13 16:36:49

Yup CofE thing over here too! I've never heard of Sundays 'off' though. I like the thought of that!

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