When is Lent 2019?
Please note: There are different definitions for the duration of Lent. For details see the explanations below.
What is Lent?
Lent is the annual period of Christian observance that precedes Easter. The dates of Lent are defined by the date of Easter, which is a moveable feast, meaning that it falls on a different date each year. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and its observance (although not its liturgical period, as Sundays are not fast days and are therefore not counted – see below) lasts for 40 days, mirroring the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before starting his ministry. It can also be seen to mirror the 40 hours that Jesus spent in the tomb prior to his resurrection.
Lent is a penitential period, involving the dual disciplines of abstinence and fasting. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits or luxuries – for example meat, cakes and sweets, alcohol, smoking – for its duration (the money saved is often then donated to charity). This is done both as a form of penitence and as a spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
Lent lasts for 40 days and the first day is always Ash Wednesday (the day after Shrove Tuesday). Nevertheless, there is often confusion as to when Lent ends! This is partly due to the fact that there are in fact always 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, and partly due to confusion between the period of the Lenten fast and the liturgical ‘season’ or period of Lent.
The Lenten Fast (which is the period that most people consider to be ‘Lent’) starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (not to be confused with Easter Saturday, the Saturday after Easter). This is a period of 46 days. However, the six Sundays within the period are not fast days (Sundays are always feast days in the Christian calendar) and therefore not counted in the 40 days of Lent.
The liturgical period of Lent also begins on Ash Wednesday, however it ends on the evening of Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). In addition, Palm Sunday (or alternatively the day before Palm Sunday) is sometimes considered to be the last day of Lent. This is incorrect and based on a misunderstanding about the liturgical periods of Lent and Holy Week. They are not exclusive of each other, and Lent in fact continues into Holy Week (see above), meaning that the liturgical season of Lent ends on Holy Thursday.
Purple is the color most associated with Lent – during this period purple church vestments (altar cloths and the priests’ liturgical garments) are used. The purple is symbolic in two ways: it is the traditional color of mourning (recalling Jesus’ death) and also symbolic of royalty (celebrating Christ’s coming as King).
In Eastern Orthodox Christianity Lent is called ‘Great Lent’ and is the most important fasting period of the year, in preparation for the most important celebration of the year, Pascha (Orthodox Easter Sunday). As in Western Christianity, the period of Lent differs in its dates from year to year, with the dates defined by the date of Pascha, which is a moveable feast. Great Lent begins on Clean Monday (the beginning of the 7th week before Pascha) and runs for 40 days (including Sundays) until Lazarus Saturday (the day before Palm Sunday). Fasting continues until the morning of Pascha.
Further reading: Lent on Wikipedia
When is Lent 2020?
Dates for Lent from 2014 to 2024
The next occurrence of Lent is marked in red.
|Year||Lent starts on||Lent ends on|
|Lent 2014||Wednesday, March 5, 2014||Saturday, April 19, 2014|
|Lent 2015||Wednesday, February 18, 2015||Saturday, April 4, 2015|
|Lent 2016||Wednesday, February 10, 2016||Saturday, March 26, 2016|
|Lent 2017||Wednesday, March 1, 2017||Saturday, April 15, 2017|
|Lent 2018||Wednesday, February 14, 2018||Saturday, March 31, 2018|
|Lent 2019||Wednesday, March 6, 2019||Saturday, April 20, 2019|
|Lent 2020||Wednesday, February 26, 2020||Saturday, April 11, 2020|
|Lent 2021||Wednesday, February 17, 2021||Saturday, April 3, 2021|
|Lent 2022||Wednesday, March 2, 2022||Saturday, April 16, 2022|
|Lent 2023||Wednesday, February 22, 2023||Saturday, April 8, 2023|
|Lent 2024||Wednesday, February 14, 2024||Saturday, March 30, 2024|
Why does Lent move?
Easter feast days are moveable days, in that they don’t fall on a fixed date in the normal Gregorian or Julian calendars, which follow the cycle of the sun.
Easter instead is determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon.
Easter is scheduled to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox around March 20.
The Spring, or March, Vernal Equinox is the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.
So, in Western Christianity, Easter will always fall between March 22 and April 25.
However, for Eastern Orthodox churches it begins on Clean Monday (February 19 this year), two days before Western churches.
What is First Day of Lent 2019?
The First Day of Lent always falls on Ash Wednesday and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is the beginning of the 40 day fasting period of Lent (there is no obligation to fast on the six Sundays in Lent).
When is First Day of Lent 2020?
Dates for First Day of Lent from 2014 to 2024
The next occurrence of First Day of Lent is marked in red.
|When is …?||Date||Day of the week||Days away|
|First Day of Lent 2014||March 5, 2014||Wednesday||1776 days ago|
|First Day of Lent 2015||February 18, 2015||Wednesday||1426 days ago|
|First Day of Lent 2016||February 10, 2016||Wednesday||1069 days ago|
|First Day of Lent 2017||March 1, 2017||Wednesday||684 days ago|
|First Day of Lent 2018||February 14, 2018||Wednesday||334 days ago|
|First Day of Lent 2019||March 6, 2019||Wednesday||in 51 days|
|First Day of Lent 2020||February 26, 2020||Wednesday||in 408 days|
|First Day of Lent 2021||February 17, 2021||Wednesday||in 765 days|
|First Day of Lent 2022||March 2, 2022||Wednesday||in 1143 days|
|First Day of Lent 2023||February 22, 2023||Wednesday||in 1500 days|
|First Day of Lent 2024||February 14, 2024||Wednesday||in 1857 days|
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What is Lent?
Lent takes place every year in the 40 days leading up to Easter , and is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.
The fasting period is to remember when Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days despite being tempted.