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Question: Discuss Lent and Easter.

Lent is the 40 days before Easter Sunday, and Easter Sunday is the
first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox
(about Mar. 21). The custom of the Lenten or Spring Fast ("Lenten"
is from the Anglo-Saxon word "lencten" which means "spring")
developed slowly during the late 2nd and 3rd centuries.

     On Easter Sunday, special sermons eulogizing the resurrection
of Christ are preached; sunrise services are conducted; multitudes
of unknowing infants are sprinkled; many go to church for the one
or two times they go each year. (Matt. 15:3,9,12-14; Gal. 4:9-11;
Gal. 1:6-12; Col. 2:20-23).

Mardi Gras: Ash Wednesday begins the 40 day Lenten season which is
climaxed on Easter Sunday. The first day of importance in the
traditional Catholic celebration of this season is Shrove Tuesday,
the day before Ash Wednesday. "Shrove" refers to confession which
is to be made before the 40 days of "fasting"begin. Shrove Tuesday
is called in French, Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday" which is observed
by Catholics and others as the last day of a carnival period of
feasting and merry-making before the Lenten fasting begins. Mardi
Gras really means, "Eat, drunk and live it up for tomorrow we must
observe Lent."

Ash Wednesday  follows Fat Tuesday. Ash Wednesday is a reference to
the pouring of ashes on the head as a public admission of
penitence, both for the excesses and sins of Fat Tuesday and
previous sins as well.

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday immediately preceding Easter.
"Maundy" comes from the French word "Mande," meaning "command," and
has reference to the washing of the Apostles' feed by Christ on
Thursday evening before His death, and the institution of the
"Eucharist" (Lord's Supper). This is celebrated in a ceremony of
washing the feet of the poor and partaking of the "Mass". Such
foot-washing was traditionally practiced in this observance from
the fourth century to 1754 when it was abandoned.

Good Friday was originally "God's Friday" and is kept by Catholics
and others as the anniversary of the crucifixion.

Origin of Easter
     Easter was not observed by the Apostles of Christ nor
Christians of the NT era; it is no part of the religion of Christ.
The name "Easter" is merely the slightly changed English spelling
of the name of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess Ishtar.
The name "Easter" comes to us from the mythological writings of the
ancient Teucrians (who lived 1200 BC along the southern coast of
Palestine) where it is known as "Ostern."  Webster's says "Easter
is from the pre-historic name of a pagan spring festival.
(See The Biblical World.86).

The Easter tradition developed over a period of several centuries
(late 2nd century to the 7th) with heated controversies surrounding
the question of the proper date for  its observance. The Council of
Nicea (325 A.D.) set the day of its observance, but still
controversy continued. (Source: Grover Stevens)

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

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