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March 9th, 2011
09:47 AM ET

Explain it to me: What's Lent? And what are you giving up?

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the season when many Christians give something up in the weeks before Easter. It's a nod to Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert before beginning his ministry. 

Some folks are giving up Facebook. Others are cutting down on their carbon emissions.

Are you giving something up? If so, let us know - and explain your choice.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Easter • Holidays • Lent

soundoff (1,213 Responses)
  1. Petunia

    My son and I are giving up media time (games, computer, phones, TV, ect) each night in order to take time to reflect on our Faith in Christ. We are also giving up eating out in exchange for cooking meals together. We decided that we wanted to give up something that would assist us in becoming closer to God during this Lenton Season as well as bring us together as a family.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  2. SUGARINJECTION

    I'm giving up shopping that is unnecessary. Which will be hard, and I gladly give it up for my saviour, Jesus Christ. I have the right to practice my religion the way I want. Just like everyone else does, or does not. I don't go bashing non-believers, so maybe non-believers should stop bashing us.. grow up and expand your mind. It's funny how people who are non-believers claim that they're so tolerant, but they really aren't b/c they have to criticize religion...

    March 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Nik@Nite

      I'm giving up my New Year's resolutions.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Al

      Im choose to be Athiest because of the horrible history that the church has given the religion itself. Convert or die?? Wiping out entire civilizations? Burning books? Saying science is devil works? I personallyl dont want to be part of a cult. Also, the majority of us are forced into Christianity from birth...later on to find out that there are more peaceful religions out there...like Buddism

      March 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Pandora

      Amen, to Sugarinjection! I am sick of Christianity getting bashed on this so-called Belief Blog.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Try Logic

      It's hard to "grow up and expand my mind" with respect to religion when many priests are giving up child molesting for lent.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Tommas

      "grow up and expand your mind" two things that usually lead people away from mythology

      March 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • SUGARINJECTION

      @ Try Logic.. There are more pedophiles out there that aren't even priests.. Not all priests are pedophiles btw. The large majority of them are wonderful people that are supportive of their communities and do not do bad things to children.

      I don't feel guilty or wrong for my religion. I don't regret my beliefs and when I say expand your mind.. I mean be more tolerant and accepting of others. No one can change anyone, or their beliefs.. live with it.. and if you can't then that's just too bad. you can keep all your hate and malice inside and even shout it from the rooftops.. it makes no difference to me because I could care less what you think.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  3. Jules Mom

    Instead of giving something up, I choose to do daily anonymous good deeds. I always failed at giving things up but I find that doing the good works secretly works for me. If that sounds too unorthodox for you then don't do it.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Jenny

      NOt unorthodox!!!! Its about sacrifice or just making an extra effort in your daily life in remembrance of what God has done for us...whether it be good deeds, praying more, spending less on vices or earthly pleasures, etc...whatever brings you closer to God...Kudos to you...

      March 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  4. AJ122454

    ..and just for the record, not all Christians are Catholics.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  5. ColoLady

    I'm giving up caffeine and beer, these will both be great sacrifices for me and that is the idea behind chosing something to give up during Lent.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  6. Marty

    I'm giving up cursing. God Bless this day and every day. Thank you God for everything you do for us.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  7. Mightypugs

    Giving up FB for 40 days.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  8. RichG

    I'll give up lima beans.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  9. StarDreamz

    Nothing... I am Buddhist. Besides never saw the point of giving up something just for 40 days only when I was Christian. Better to make permanent changes where they are needed.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  10. Stephanie

    If you're not a Christian and/or someone that this article refers to, then don't comment on them.. I would really rather not see your negative comments about my GOD..He has done soooo much for everyone and people don't even care anymore..seriously..Look to God for everything! He is the ONLY answer!!!!

    March 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • lcresey

      We don't tell you that you can't believe, please don't think that you can tell us what we can and cannot comment on. Last time I checked this wasn't a "Catholics only" comment board.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  11. jayl74

    I am giving up going to work, I wish

    March 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  12. Heisenburg

    I'm giving up Purple Drank.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  13. V

    I am giving up judging myself for enjoying the pleasures I have discovered and gifts/blessings I have created/received in a life that is otherwise filled with challenges.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  14. Samuel Scrumpwell

    Last time I gave something up for Lent, it was Catholicism.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • lcresey

      HA! Love it

      March 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  15. Matt

    I always give up desserts because I have a sweet tooth. It is tough at times but rewarding. I love Jesus! (Bring on the negative comments for that last sentence.)

    March 9, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  16. Ron

    HEY FOLKS, the Catholic Church has been around a long. long time and is not likely to pass into oblivion, like so many of you wish. The Catholic Church is made up of human beings that sin, like every other church in existence. I am glad that something is finally being done to break the back of priest pedophilia, it should have been done a long time ago. The Church is human and is subject to mistakes but I believe the Catholic Church will find renewed strength after this scourge passes. I am one of the RCIA team leaders in my church and there are strong conversions among the young University students that desire to enter the Catholic fold. They understand the big picture.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • M

      Well said!

      March 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • chris

      So, are you giving up making sense when you speak? The topic is lent, not your philosophy on the Catholicism.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Doug

    Well, Ash Wednesday is actually 47 days before Easter because Sundays are not counted in the 40 days of Lent, but most people go ahead and fast on the Sundays too. Also, Mardi Gras is not just the weekend before Ash Wednesday, but actually runs with parades about for about 12 days, starting on the 2nd Friday before Ash Wednesday.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  18. M

    Maybe the rest of you commenters should give up the spreading of Christian-hating and leave us the friggin alone, yes? It's healthy for humans to exercise tests of self-control, which is what Lent is. In our modern society that's addicted to vices this would be great for the non-religious to practice in a secular way for their own good.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • T.O.

      Exercises is self-control are valuable, as you can learn to turn habits on and off. Not everything christianity involves should be thrown to the curb. But I do 30-day-trials all the time. Christianity just does one per year, and it's 40 days long. 30 days is usually enough to install a new habit. Google: "steve pavlina 30 day trial" for more info.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Your Christian Big Nasty in the Sky is all about hate. Which poor animal did you slaughter lately, according to its commands? And how about all that killing he wants you to do?
      skepticsannotatedbible dot com/cruelty/long.html

      March 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • StankNasty

      You do realize that not everybody has to believe in what you believe in. If people not agreeing with your views or ancient urban legends upsets you, and you feel the need to make them stop, perhaps you could give up reading comments for Lent. People have every bit of right to condemn Christianity the same way you have the right to not like what they say.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Marty

    I am giving up liver&onions. They are pretty yukky so they wont be missed. For entertainment, I will give up my addiction to C-span.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  20. Kevin

    Matthew 15:3,5b-8
    Why is it YOU also overstep the commandment of God because of YOUR tradition?

    YOU have made the word of God invalid because of YOUR tradition. 7 YOU hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about YOU, when he said, 8 ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. 9 It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’

    March 9, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Kevin, he also told us Matthew 7:6, if you've been on these blogs as long as we have.

      Amen.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • jg

      i think Matt. 7:21-23 also applies here but i hope some will look that up for themselves and just give up wasting your time with those useless cath. traditions. and for all of the pope lovers out there, you need to look elsewhere for the truth.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Sam

      Here is a HUMAN tradition for you Kevin

      SOLA SCRIPTURA

      Protestantism rests on this foundation.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.