General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

What are you giving up for Lent?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9915points) February 13th, 2013

Booze, here.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

49 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Nothing. It’s not my tradition.

Joke answer: beating my wife and kids.

Seek's avatar

You know, it’s not my tradition at all, but I might do something just for the shiggles. And because it’s good to break habits.

Booze is unrealistic – Ren Faire season starts in ten days. This is my party time.

Maybe…. swear words. That’s it! Profanity. I’m giving up profanity for Lent.

bob_'s avatar

Nothing. I think it’s pointless.

Joke answer: working hard.

@wundayatta Is it a joke because you will actually not give that up?

ETpro's avatar

Lent. I’m taking ‘er all the way this Lent season.

lindseyfo09's avatar

When is lent ?

zensky's avatar

What is Lent?

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KNOWITALL's avatar


For those asking what Ash Wednesday/ Lent is please see link

livelaughlove21's avatar

Nothing. It’s always interesting when people who aren’t religious give up something for Lent. Why?

lici92's avatar

I gave up meat. I love meat so much, but this year I wanted a challenge. I will only be eating healthy vegetarian food.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I don’t know any non-Catholics that participate in Lent, do you? I wonder why as well, unless it’s simply to practice self-denial.

Seek's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Personal challenge. 40 days is a long time.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@KNOWITALL Oh yeah, plenty of people around here give something up for lent, and only a small number of them are Catholic.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not Catholic, but I think Lent can be a great exercise in starting a new habit. They say it takes at least 21 days to get into a new habit and out of an old one, lent has 40 just for extra measure. I recently started a new “diet” focus is not for losing weight, but would be a great side affect. It is completely health focused to lower my cholesterol (I know for sure it will do that) but also I will be monitoring other vitamin and mineral dificiencies I have to see if the number improve. So my lent is a plant based diet with an emphasis on green leafy vegatables and giving up most animal foods.

I absolutely know many people who give up something for Lent. Usually it is chocolate or soda something like that. Almost always food related. LOL.

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JLeslie's avatar

@lindseyfo09 Lent starts today, it is Ash Wednesday today.

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Aethelwine's avatar

I’m not Catholic, but I really need to give up eating Girl Scout cookies, so I choose cookies.

Sunny2's avatar

Lent has a definite starting point and, like new year’s day, is a time to change something you want to change. Of course you can make up your own starting point, like when daylight savings starts, or the school term, or on your mother’s 50th birthday; but it’s easier to make a declaration of change at a time set for you.

Roby's avatar


Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I gave up Christianity for Lent many years ago, and it stuck. So, I’m don’t give up anything for Lent anymore.

Any Christian group that follows a liturgical calendar observes Lent, such as Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans.

flutherother's avatar

Alcohol for me too though I’m not a Catholic.

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elbanditoroso's avatar

Religious belief.

dxs's avatar

I am going to wake up earlier and to more in the morning. I’ve been late to school more times than what is acceptable.

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please remember, folks: This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

hearkat's avatar

I was raised Presbyterian, and we never observed Lent. Now I am non-religious, so I still don’t practice it. I ‘get’ the concept of New Year’s resolutions to motivate one to make a desired change. But I’m not sure I understand the idea of giving something up for a limited time only, knowing you can start it up again after Easter…

JLeslie's avatar

@hearkat I think the 40 days of Lent represent Jesus’ suffering. Actually, I think he was fasting, but not really all food, but rather not able to eat certain foods like “meat” but fish is ok. Over time the traditions of Lent have changed. Some don’t eat “meat” on Friday during this time, while other Catholics never eat meat on Friday. It’s not really a sacrifice in modern time in that my friends who follow this just have fish Friday or pasta or pizza, but I guess it is supposed to serve as a reminder. Anyway, during the time of Lent people give up a luxury or pleasure in memory of how Jesus suffered for us. How He resisted temptation.

Now, it has turned into also a time to kick start changing a bad habit. A friend of mine said that there is a movement during Lent for people to give some of their time to volunteer to help people.

With all religious traditions It is something that unites the people in that group, so I think that is part of the reason traditions are created and continue. You feel a connection with each other.

I’m not Catholic so hopefully a Catholic or someone who is from another denomination who celebrates Lent will answer also.

burntbonez's avatar

Notice that Lent occurs at the end of winter/beginning of spring. This is a time of year when, in Northern climes, there was little food left in storage and there wasn’t going to be any new food growing for another month or two.

Religions can be clever about things like this and make a virtue of necessity. Rather than have people feel deprived because there was none, why not make a virtue out of it, and make people feel like they choose to do without. In old days, I’m sure the things that people did without were not chocolate or cigarettes or religion, but fish or green vegetables or meat. Something that there wasn’t any of, anyway. Something important.

hearkat's avatar

@JLeslie – I know the religious origin of the tradition. I’m just trying to understand the point of making a change for only 40 days, knowing that you can (and likely will) go back to your vice after 6 weeks.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hearkat It’s showing that you are willing to sacrifice as Jesus did.

‘According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan.[2][3] Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead “feast” days during Lent [4].’

JLeslie's avatar

@hearkat Some people make the change permanently. Some people it is an exercise in restraint. I don’t see why it matters if it is just 40 days? People still feel good about themselves doing something difficult for 40 days. And, again feeling the union with others. On Yom Kippur people fast for one day, it’s symbolic, the whole Jewish community is doing it (well, I don’t, but many are, especially if you are orthodox). On Thanksgiving everyone is eating Turkey. It’s just a matter of tradition in the end I think, or a reason to start doing what we should be doing in the first place.

Some Christians seem to be pretty obsessed with the suffering Jesus endured, so I guess for them they get some spiritual fulfillment because the change in behavior might trigger thinking about Jesus and his suffering.

@burntbonez That makes sense.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t get how giving up booze or cookies for 6 weeks is a sacrifice or resembles suffering. I think JLeslie hit the nail on the head with “people feel good about themselves”; but if there’s a deity, I’d hope it wouldn’t be impressed by such shallow, fleeting actions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hearkat We’ve discussed Jesus suffering on fluther many times before. Some people take it much further, like wearing hair shirts under their clothes, sleeping on nails, wearing the metal bracelets that cut your skin.

Perhaps booze and cookies don’t seem like much, but to each their own, we are not to judge each other, and we all make our own personal sacrifices according to what we feel needs sacrificed. Maybe a person sacrificing booze for 40 days is an alcoholic and realizes they need help. Perhaps giving up cookies is an overeaters sacrifice. It’s hard to explain because for a lot of us, it’s very personal.

JLeslie's avatar

@hearkat I think when we change a habit it makes us have to think. As we want for or crave our usual rituals or vices, in that moment of thought when we resist, we might trigger thoughts of why we are making the change, and the reason is Jesus in this instance. Christianity likes when people eat, breath, and live Jesus Christ in all their thoughts and actions.

I hypothesize that giving up something forever sometimes means we lose the habit and obsession with it. Like a smoker eventually becomes a nonsmoker when they quit, and they don’t think about it daily anymore. But, a smoker who quites for just 40 days. Probably almost every day they are missing it, and then contemplating why they chose this suffering, then thinking about lent, Jesus, etc.

Aethelwine's avatar

My cookie answer was a joke. I don’t know a thing about Lent, or much about any religion, really. just sayin’. :)

hearkat's avatar

@jonsblond – I didn’t mean to pick on you, I just used examples from this post; but I have heard others give up sweets for Lent, so it does happen.

@JLeslie and @KNOWITALL – I appreciate your responses. They have helped me understand the concept better (although I still think that if a person has changes they want to make, the goal should be for ongoing improvement, not a short-term shift).

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hearkat The goal is not for ‘ongoing improvement’ necessarily, it’s to bring you closer to Jesus/ your faith. Whole different thing.

Aethelwine's avatar

@hearkat I figured. I just wanted to make it clear that I was joking. I could never give up Girl Scout cookies. ;)

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