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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. A

    Every Lent I don't eat meat for the entire 40 days, as opposed to not eating meat on Fridays only. I've done it for the past ten Lents.

    March 10, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  2. Me

    I cleaned the lent catcher 3 times yesterday.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  3. kiakia55

    I am Catholic and i will be giving up bread, choclate, facebook, and herb. Stay strong everybody! 🙂

    March 10, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  4. Wolfpack

    Giving up my (tobacco) pipe smoking (I don't smoke anything else, btw).

    March 10, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  5. Porkmuscle J. Hamfat

    I'm giving up luge lessons and wearing my meat helmet.

    March 10, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  6. Andy

    I am a devout Catholic and like always I will give something up in the hopes of giving it up forever (I quit smoking this way). This year I will give up reading any news story that kowtows to the kind of hate my saviour would abhor. I will not read any story that gets the reaction on the "tea party", I will not watch anything on Fox – even the Simpsons and Family Guy which I have loved for years, I will do everything I can to help immigrants trying to find a better life. I disagree wtih abortion – but also capital punshiment...I respect life...but my views (which I believe reflect the teachings of Jesus) have been perverted. I will no longer stand for it

    March 10, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  7. Andy

    I am a devout Catholic and like always will give up something for Lent – often in the hopes of giving it up forever. I beat smoking this way. This year I will give up hate filled right wing news stories or comments to same. Right wing hate has taken over the media and I'm not going to be a pawn of something my saviour would detest. I will no longer read any article that has the words "tea party" or similiar in it's body. I will no longer associate with anything Fox (including the potentially painful process of

    March 10, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  8. Maire

    Reading the comments on this article is a useful reminder of how every topic on religion, politics, or race has its loyal army of trolls which come out of the woodwork anytime the media features said topic in a story. Their trolling makes the topic (in this case, the Christian season of Lent) look more controversial than it really is. Believers, bear this in mind as you read: the nasty, ignorant comments posted here by the anti-religious, the atheists, and miscellaneous dillettantes do NOT represent the majority opinion in this country, nevermind the world. On the contrary, what they represent are the sad rantings of an angry, insecure minority who should be spending less time online in their parents' basement and more time forming healthy relationships with real people, thereby contributing positively to society.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  9. JoyfulGypsy

    I had a co-worker who would give up Starbucks coffee for Lent. She would still drink coffee every day... it just wouldn't be from Starbucks. Seriously.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Amy

    I'm not Catholic, but I started observing Lent a few years ago. For me, it is an exercise in mindfulness. This year I gave up red meat. I don't eat a lot of red meat, but tonight I went out to dinner. When I was looking at the menu, there were a few things I looked at and then though, "I can't order that, I'm not eating red meat." It gave me a chance to think a little bit more about what I was eating than I usually do. Maybe it's because it was a choice I made as an adult, but I enjoy observing Lent.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  11. Calimafia

    I'm giving up giving up.........................................unless I don't

    March 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  12. Jim M

    People could give up being hateful of other humans that are also God's creations. Just a thought. That makes more sense to me than giving up "stuff"

    March 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  13. Liutgard

    I guess I'm the odd one out. I'm a historian- a medievalist- and every year I follow the Lenten fast as they did in the time period I study. No meat, eggs, or dairy. I'm still working on restricting myself to one large midday meal and a bedtime snack. Happily enough, Sundays are considered feast days, so all restrictions are off! Sunday = bacon!

    March 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  14. Just another opinion

    Krishnamurti would say that as soon as one chooses a religion, they cease to be intelligent as by subscribing to a particular school of thought they are saying "I know all there is to know about this subject". Religion too often replaces personal learning and growth.

    March 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  15. Calimafia

    I'm giving up posting on CNN boards...................o, wait, I just did...........................well, never mind

    March 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  16. Charlie Sheen

    This year, I am giving up Lent for Lent.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  17. Just Wondering

    Does Ashy Larry celebrate Ash Wednesday?

    March 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  18. johnny appleseed

    I'm giving up religion for LENT.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  19. Natch

    Giving up something for Lent tends to be more of a Catholic thing than a Christian thing, imho.

    Personally, I gave up Lent, for Lent, years ago. Best darn decision I ever made!!

    March 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  20. Nikkki

    I am giving up coca cola and fast food for lent. It is not because I am religious, but it is because it is good to practice discipline, even for only forty days 🙂

    March 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jesus

      I'm giving up Catholicism.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Justina

      @J-, Catholics won't want an idiotic blasphemer like you as you are.

      March 9, 2011 at 10:13 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.