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What is Lent?

Lent is a religious period of fasting and repentance in the Christian calendar. Lasting for six weeks before Easter, Lent is a time for people of the Christian faith to reflect on their lives and repent for their sins. During this time, people fast and “give up” luxuries they enjoy, like chocolate, candy, or potato chips. The act of “giving something up” is in memory of Jesus. Before he died, Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights wandering in the desert, avoiding the temptation on his way. This is why Lent lasts six weeks, ending nine days before Easter on Good Friday. However, the act of “giving something up” is not mandatory during Lent – the period is more commonly a time for quiet prayer and reflection for Christians before Easter brings new life and spiritual renewal.

When is Lent 2024?

Lent takes place at a different period each year, depending on when Easter Sunday is on our calendars. This year, Lent 2024 begins on Wednesday, February 22nd, and will end Thursday, April 6th.

What is the history of Lent?

Fasting before Easter has existed for thousands of years – the first recorded reference to fasting can be traced back to 375 to 380 A.D. However, Lent as a defined season of 40 days of fasting is harder to pinpoint in history. Some theories suggest that the First Council of Nicaea was the first religious group to create this period in 325 A.D. However, some historians believe it may have originated from early Egyptian Christian rituals. Other scholars believe fasting existed as an act of repentance long before this period and that the First Council of Nicaea adopted the custom. In 600 A.D., Pope Gregory the Great made the Lenten period official in the Christian church, with Ash Wednesday decreed as the day Lent would begin. Throughout history, Lent has evolved throughout Christianity but remains a time for self-reflection.

How can I introduce Lent to my kids?

Introducing the idea of fasting to your kids may be something you want to avoid. But the Lenten period is about more than just giving up candy or cookies. Below are some tips to bring this period into your learning:

Instead of “giving up” something, have your kids pledge to do something, such as 40 acts of kindness (more on that below!) Discuss the story of Lent and Easter with your kids, focusing on Jesus’ sacrifice. Instead of introducing prayer to your classroom, have quiet time for self-reflection. During this time of self-reflection, encourage your kids to think about their behavior and make positive changes. Have your kids make just one Lenten promise they can stick to during this period, such as helping others or being a good friend.

Do you have any Lent 2024 resources?

If you’re looking for resources to help your teaching this Lenten period, below are just a few suggestions:

For starters, this Lent: 40 Acts of Kindness activity is a great way to introduce this period to your class. This activity tasks your children with completing 40 acts of kindness and then recording them on their worksheets. From there, this Traffic Light Lenten Activity is another resource we love. This thought-provoking resource offers your children three options. The red light is something they must stop doing, the yellow light is something they can try to improve on, and the green light is something your kids will start doing. This resource is the perfect way to make Lent child-friendly. Finally, we recommend this Lent Adventure Activity Pack. Loaded with seven weeks’ worth of lessons, this pack features comprehensive learning for the entire Lenten period, with tons of engaging activities in the mix.

For more Lent 2024-themed resources, sign up to Twinkl to discover more activities. All that’s left to say is that we wish you a happy and healthy Lent 2024!

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