Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Season of Lent Has Begun


I found the image, above, on another website, but I have since discovered that it is available as a coloring page at catholicplayground.com.  They have other lovely coloring pages for Lent, as well.

"Forty days before Easter, not counting Sundays, there begins a religious season called Lent, which means lengthening of days. On the first day of this season, Ash Wednesday, some Christians have a cross marked on their forehead with ashes. It is a sign of the sorrow over their sins. In the dark ages only important people who had done something scandalous received ashes. These "public sinners" wore sackcloth and hair shirts and went bare foot during lent.

Lent recalls the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, fasting and becoming strong as he thought deeply about his work in the world. Serious Christians today look for ways during this time to become better and stronger, to make a fresh start. As a token, many give up certain pleasures or try to break bad habits during Lent.

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week. Palm Sunday is the first day. In many Christian churches everyone goes home with a frond of palm. This symbolizes the palms spread before Jesus as he rode into the city of Jerusalem just before his death. He had come there with his twelve disciples for the Passover, the Hebrew festival of freedom. Each year, at the first full moon of spring, the Hebrews, or Jews, celebrated the freeing of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt.

The book of Exodus in the Bible tells the story. The evening before the Hebrews flight from Egypt, the angel of God passed through the land. In every Egyptian home the angel destroyed the firstborn but passed over the homes of the Hebrews.

From the old Hebrew word for Passover, Pesach, came the name for Easter in many languages, though not in English or German. In Spanish it is Pascua. The French word for Easter is Paques, the Greek, Pascha, and the Norwegian, Paaske.

Good Friday is a day of mourning for Jesus death.

Easter Eve, or Holy Saturday, is the last day before Easter. At some time during the day or evening, mourning for Jesus ends. Joyful celebrations begin at noontime or even before in countries like Spain or Mexico. Whistles blow, horns toot, and firecrackers explode. There may even be the booming of guns or a cannon."

from Lilies, Rabbits and Painted Eggs: The Story of the Easter Symbols by Edna Barth
Available to borrow from the Internet Archives.  May be a waiting list.

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