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5 Interesting Facts About Lent

5 Interesting Facts About Lent

3. Not Technically 40 Days Long

Catholics carry a holy cross at a street parade during a special Good Friday mass in Colombo March 29, 2013. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. | (Photo: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

Lent is often known as a 40-day time period, reflecting the 40 days of fasting that Jesus Christ did in the wilderness.

However, this 40-day period is not a literal one, for Sundays are not included in the period. This is because, as the Lord's Day, Sunday is seen as a time of spiritual celebration.

This has led some to question whether or not things given up for Lent can be indulged in on the Sundays during the season.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated in an entry on their website that it is up to the individual believer as to whether or not to use Sundays during Lent as a break.

"Apart from the prescribed days of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and the days of abstinence every Friday of Lent, Catholics have traditionally chosen additional penitential practices for the whole Time of Lent," stated the USCCB.

"These practices are disciplinary in nature and often more effective if they are continuous, i.e., kept on Sundays as well. That being said, such practices are not regulated by the Church, but by individual conscience."

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