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. right hand

    Giving up Masturbation

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  2. Ute

    Lent is about cutting down on the "noise" that distracts us from being who we are meant to be. We give up things to remind us what is important in life. The main purpose is prayer and charity. I will pray more and spend more time talking to my husband and son. We will give more to others, not only money but time and love.
    Those of you who don't believe in any higher power – if you died right now, would you be happy with your legacy to this world? In the middle of the night, when you are all alone and none of your posessions and status matter – are you truly happy?
    I don't have an answer to all the questions there are. Religion is made by people and we're not perfect. I always believed in God. I know, what an abstract concept. Like justice, fairness and all these other crazy ideas us humans believe in. And I do get up every morning trying to give more of myself to others. We all are one. This is my first Lent becoming a Catholic and I am happy. Truly.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  3. JustKidding24

    I'm giving up on cnn

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  4. Hoof Hearted

    I am giving up giving up stuff.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  5. Gingeet

    Ash Wednesday is actually a Norse/Germanic ritual that was adopted by the Church to help with the acculturation of the "pagans".
    Wednesday is Odin's day. The ashes represent the blood of the dragon for protection a la the Ring Cycle etc...
    Praise Odin!
    I love how people think these are their own sacred and original rituals!

    March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  6. God

    I'm giving up on man

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  7. FacebookAddict

    I gave up facebook for lent... decided that it was consuming my life and I wanted to give up something I really relied heavily on... so it was either Facebook or my computer games... Only 39 1/2 days left.

    "Happy" Lent to everyone who does celebrate..

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Maryann

      I thought you were supposed to give up something really important that would inconvenience your life, not the lesser of the two evils!

      So funny how people can pick and choose what to give up for lent, and then go around telling everyone how holy they are for giving up some minor thing!. Religion is so stupid!

      March 9, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  8. Bonnie

    I always give up junk food and sweets, so with that i am also giving up texting/looking at my phone while driving. Putting others on the road before what i think is important. I am able to pay more attention to the people around me and i am picking people out in cars and saying a quick prayer for the people around me.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Maryann

      So when lent is over, are you going to notify other drivers to be on the lookout for someone texting and driving?

      March 9, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. Buddy Gold

    Were I Catholic, I would give up being Catholic for Lent. Problem solved......

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  10. Mickey

    So Jesus fasted 40 days in the desert and was tortured and died on the cross. And you are giving up chocolate or some other trivial treat. Jesus will be so proud of your sacrifice.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  11. Greatest Ever

    I'm going to be realistic and try to give up coffee. If I said beer I would be lying and fail pretty quickly he he.

    But more importantly Im going to focus on my faith... reflect and be thankful for my life. Hit up a few services over the next month.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  12. Stacy from Leesburg

    I am giving up on the GOP.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  13. KMW

    It is so gratifying to read the positive responses on this board. I just returned from Paris, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a group of young Irish girls attend Mass at the Madeleine Church (one of my favorites). After Mass, I spoke to them and told them what a credit they were to the Irish and they informed me that there are many in Ireland today who attend Sunday Mass. I

    I was also fortunate enough to attend a Monday Mass at 7:00 PM at the Saint Germain de Pres Church and see many young French people there. I spoke to the Priest and some of the young people after the Mass; and they said that yes, FRENCH people do go to church and not just on Sundays.

    I blame the media for the negative reporting about the Catholic Church and I am so glad the Catholic Church is thriving and alive in France and Ireland. I hope you all have a wonderful Ash Wednesday and Happy Easter.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Gingeet

      Yah, they sure are preying... I mean thriving in Ireland.
      Just like they are in Philly it seems.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Maryann

      You were pleasantly surprised to see that the brainwashing and indoctrination was working well in another country. I find that extremely unpleasant.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  14. Winner Winner Sheen Dinner

    I'm giving up my new year's resolution for Lent...

    March 9, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  15. brad

    I may give up on certain types of people. Sacrificing at Lent is nothing more than a religious discipline. This is too hard for many and they respond with sarcasm and puerile comments. Bad news, though: the Catholic practice of sacrificing at lent is not the worst thing that will ever happen to you.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Maryann

      I would like the priests to give up molesting children for lent. Think they can do that?

      March 9, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  16. 900rr

    Jesus mambo jumbo.... nonsence

    March 9, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  17. Randy

    I'm giving up Christianity.

    (To all the people, this is a JOKE!!!! Lighten up!)

    March 9, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  18. Machos

    I'm giving up Religion, oh wait already did that

    March 9, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  19. jim

    I'm giving up religion for lent.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  20. Jessica


    I am giving up chocolate (which I like A LOT) for three reasons: It's bad for me and I eat way to much of it. The worlds supply of chocolate is running out and it's becoming harder to get because it's being farmed in less places. Also, most of our chocolate comes from child slave labor, which I just found out. So for 6 HARD weeks, I'm giving up chocolate and maybe I can give it up for good.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • no

      actually chocolate, especially unsweetened chocolate, has very many health benefits; aka it is not "bad for you"

      March 9, 2011 at 11:22 am |
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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.