Lent The practice of penance during Lent, the time before Easter, has roots in the early Church. These days were at one time observed with a Black Fast of strictly no more than one meal, without meat, dairy, oil, or wine, taken after sunset. In the 14th century the meal was allowed at mid-day, and soon the practice of an evening collation (snack) became common. A morning collation was introduced in the 19th century. Fasting was still often accompanied by complete abstinence from meat, although this was not always the case. In the early 20th century, Church law prescribed fasting throughout Lent, with abstinence only on Friday and Saturday. Some countries received dispensations: Rome in 1918 allowed the bishops of Ireland to transfer the Saturday obligation to Wednesday; in the United States, abstinence was not required on Saturday. The other weekdays were simply days of "fasting without abstinence." A similar practice (common in the United States) was called "partial abstinence", which allowed meat only once during the day at the main meal. (There is nothing in current Catholic Canon Law which corresponds to "partial abstinence".) The countries of the former Spanish empire also had their own extensive dispensations from the Roman rules of fasting and abstinence, based on the "Crusader privileges" of the Spanish dominions as codified in the Bull of the Crusade. In some European colonies, the obligation to fast and abstain differed by race, with natives often having more lenient rules than Europeans or mestizos. Besides Lent, there were other penitential times customarily accompanied by fasting or abstinence. These included Advent, the Ember Days, the Rogation Days, Fridays throughout the year, sometimes Wednesdays and Saturdays also, and the day before some important feast days (called a vigil). Advent is considered a time of special self-examination, humility, and spiritual preparation in anticipation of the birth of Christ. Fridays and Saturdays in Advent were days of abstinence, and until early in the 20th century, the Fridays of Advent were also days of fasting. The vigils observed included the Saturday before Pentecost, October 31 (the vigil of All Saints), December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 7 (the vigil of the Immaculate Conception) and August 14 (the vigil of the Assumption). These vigils all required fasting; some also required abstinence. If any of these fell on a Sunday, the vigil, but not the obligation of fasting, was moved to the Saturday before. (Some other liturgical days were also known as vigils but neither fasting nor abstinence was required, particularly the vigils of feasts of the Apostles and the Vigil of the Epiphany.) By 1959 in the United States, the fast for the vigil of Christmas was moved to December 23. Ember days occurred four times a year. The Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the ember week were days of fast and abstinence, though the Wednesday and Saturday were often only days of partial abstinence. In addition, Roman Catholics were required to abstain from meat (but not fast) on all other Fridays, unless the Friday coincided with a holy day of obligation. The former regulations on abstinence obliged Roman Catholics starting as young as age seven, but there were many exceptions. Large classes of people were considered exempt from fasting and abstinence, not only the sick and those with physically demanding jobs, but also people traveling and students. The regulations were adapted to each nation, and so in most dioceses in America abstinence from meat was not required on the Friday after Thanksgiving, to accommodate any meat left over from that US national holiday. On the eve of Vatican II, fasting and abstinence requirements in numerous Catholic countries were already greatly relaxed compared to the beginning of the 20th century, with fasting often reduced to just 4 days of the year (Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, the vigil of Christmas or the day before, and the vigil either of the Immaculate Conception or of the Assumption). Contemporary application Contemporary legislation is rooted in the 1966 Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, Paenitemini. He recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic situation, and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. He also allowed that fasting and abstinence might be substituted with prayer and works of charity, although the norms for doing so were to be set down by the Episcopal Conferences. Current practice of fast and abstinence is regulated by Canons 1250-1253 of the 1983 code. They specify that all Fridays throughout the year, and the time of Lent are penitential times throughout the entire Church. All adults (those who have attained the 'age of majority', which varies from country to country) are bound by law to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday until the beginning of their sixtieth year. All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence on all Fridays unless they are solemnities, but in practice this
requirement has been greatly reduced by the Episcopal Conferences because under Canon 1253, it is these Conferences that have the authority to set down the local norms for fasting and abstinence in their territories. Although the current Canon Law effective for the Western church does not specify the exact meaning of fasting, the traditional interpretation follows the earlier practice that on the days of mandatory fasting, Catholics may eat only one full meal during the day. Additionally, they may eat up to two small meals or snacks,  known as "collations". Church requirements on fasting only relate to solid food, not to drink, so Church law does not restrict the amount of water or other beverages - even alcoholic drinks - which may be consumed. In some Western countries, Catholics have been encouraged to adopt non-dietary forms of abstinence during Lent. For example, in 2009 Monsignor Benito Cocchi, Bishop of Modena, urged young Catholics to give up text messaging for Lent. Republic of Ireland On 25 November 2010 the Irish Bishops’ Conference published the resource leaflet Friday Penance. It followed from the March 2010 Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland from Pope Benedict XVI suggesting initiatives to support renewal in the Church in Ireland. He asked that Irish Catholics offer their Friday Penances “for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength,” and that fasting, prayer, reading of Scripture and works of mercy be offered in order to obtain healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. The leaflet states that Penance "arises from the Lord’s call to conversion and repentance" and describes that it is an "essential part of all genuine Christian living": • in memory of the passion and death of the Lord • as a sharing in Christ’s suffering • as an expression of inner conversion • as a form of reparation for sin Friday Penance also explains why penance is important: “Declaring some days throughout the year as days of fast and abstinence (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) is meant to intensify penances of the Christian. Lent is the traditional season for renewal and penance but Catholics also observe each Friday of the year as days of penance. The link between Friday and penance is extremely ancient and is even reflected in the Irish language word for Friday: An Aoine (The Fast).” The leaflet suggests ways of fulfilling Friday penance such as abstaining from meat or alcohol, visiting the Blessed Sacrament or helping the poor, sick and lonely as well as other suggestions. United States The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) produced a statement in 1966 called Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, which was modified slightly in 1983. These statements mean, according to Richert: In the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared that "the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth." The USCCB also allows the substitution of some other form of penance for abstinence on all of the Fridays of the year, except for those Fridays in Lent. Thus, the rules for fasting and abstinence in the United States are: • Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. • Every person between the age of 18 and 60 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. • Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on all other Fridays of the year, unless he or she substitutes some other form of penance for abstinence. According to the USCCB website Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs --- all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.
Because of this, some Catholic parishes in the United States sponsor a fish fry during Lent. In predominantly Roman Catholic areas, restaurants may adjust their menus during Lent by adding seafood items to the menu in an attempt to appeal to Roman Catholics. However, the same USCCB website says that: While fish, lobster and other shellfish are not considered meat and can be consumed on days of abstinence, indulging in the lavish buffet at your favorite seafood place sort of misses the point. Abstaining from meat and other indulgences during Lent is a penitential practice. The USCCB website also states that: Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting. There are several holy days within the season of Lent: • Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent for Roman Catholics and most mainline Reformed and Protestant traditions. • Clean Monday (or "Ash Monday") is the first day of Lent in Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. • By Pontifical decree, there is no Ash Wednesday in the Ambrosian Rite, and Lent begins liturgically on what the Roman Rite regards as first Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, the fast began on the first Monday of Lent as also reflected in the Mozarabic rite. • The Sundays in Lent carry Latin names in German Lutheranism, derived from the beginning of the Sunday's introit. The first is called Invocabit, the second Reminiscere, the third Oculi, the fourth Laetare, the fifth Judica. The sixth Sunday is Palm Sunday. • The fourth Sunday in Lent, which marks the halfway point between Ash Wednesday and Easter, is referred to as Laetare Sunday by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and many other Christians because of the traditional Entrance Antiphon of the Mass. Due to the more "joyful" character of the day (since laetare in Latin means "rejoice"), the priest (as well as deacon and subdeacon) has the option of wearing vestments of a rose colour (pink) instead of violet. • The fourth Lenten Sunday, Mothering Sunday, which has become known as Mother's Day in the United Kingdom and an occasion for honouring mothers of children, has its origin in a sixteenth-century celebration of the Mother Church. • The fifth Sunday in Lent, also known as Passion Sunday (however, that term is also applied to Palm Sunday) marks the beginning of Passiontide. • The sixth Sunday in Lent, commonly called Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent immediately preceding Easter. • Wednesday of Holy Week, Holy Wednesday (also sometimes known as Spy Wednesday) commemorates the day on which Judas spied on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before betraying him. • Thursday is known as Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, and is a day Christians commemorate the Last Supper shared by Christ with his disciples. • The next day is Good Friday, on which Christians remember Jesus' crucifixion and burial. Associated customs Statues and icons veiled in violet shrouds for Passiontide in St Pancras Church, Ipswich, United Kingdom. There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). However, in modern times, observers give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations. In many liturgical Christian denominations, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday form the Easter Triduum. Lent is a season of grief that necessarily ends with a great celebration of Easter. It is known in Eastern Orthodox circles as the season of "Bright Sadness." It is a season of sorrowful reflection which is punctuated by breaks in the fast on Sundays.
Lent From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article is about Lent in Western Christianity. For Lent in Orthodox Christianity, see Great Lent. For other uses, see Lent (disambiguation). Pious Catholic women designated as annual honorees called "Hermana Mayores" clutching their standard banners along with privileged posts at religious processions. The appointed women don their most elegant black formal attire accessorized by a Mantilla veil and confraternity medal. Zaragoza, Spain. Lent (Latin: Quadragesima - English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday in the Roman Catholic Church. Other western denominations extends it until Easter Sunday. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the Bible beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ's carrying the Cross and of his execution, are often observed. Many Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches remove flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols are often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event. In certain pious Catholic countries, some adherents mark the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat.  In some countries, grand religious processions and cultural customs are observed, and the faithful attempt to visit seven churches during Holy Week in honor of Jesus Christ heading to Mount Calvary. Liturgical year Western •
Ordinary Time Eastern
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by the Devil. However, different Christian denominations calculate the forty days of Lent differently. In most Western traditions the Sundays are not counted as part of Lent since Sundays are always the weekly anniversary of the Resurrection and exempt from fasting or abstinence from meat; thus the period from Ash Wednesday until Easter consists of 40 days when the Sundays are excluded. However in the Roman Catholic Church Lent is now taken to end on Holy Thursday rather than Easter Eve, and hence lasts 38 days excluding Sundays, or 44 days in total. This event, along with its pious customs are observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans. Tisha B'Av From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search
Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, by Francesco Hayez
Hebrew: תשעה באב English: Ninth of Av
Jews in Judaism
Jewish Mourning the destruction of the ancient
Temples and Jerusalem, and other major calamities which have befallen the Jewish people.
Fasting, mourning, prayer
9th day of Av (if Shabbat, then the 10th of Av)
Sunset, July 15–nightfall, July 16
Sunset, August 4–nightfall, August 5
Sunset, July 25–nightfall, July 2
Sunset, August 13–nightfall, August 14
annual The fasts of Gedalia, the Tenth of Tevet and the
Seventeenth of Tammuz, the Three Weeks & the Nine Days
Tisha B'Av (help·info) (lit. "the ninth of Av") (Hebrew: תשעה באבor )ט׳ באב, is an annual fast day in Judaism which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel. The day also commemorates other tragedies which occurred on the same day, including the Roman massacre of over 100,000 Jews at Betar in 132 CE. Instituted by the rabbis of 2nd-century Palestine, Tisha B'Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and a day which is destined for tragedy.  
Tisha B'Av falls in July or August in the Western calendar. In addition to the basic five prohibitions, all pleasurable activity is forbidden. The Book of Lamentations which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem is read in the synagogue, followed by the kinnot, a series of liturgical dirges which lament the loss of the Temple and Jerusalem. As the day has become associated with remembrance of other major calamities which have befallen the Jewish people, some kinnot recall events such as the murder of the Ten Martyrs, the decimation of numerous medieval Jewish communities during the Crusades and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust.
Five calamities According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting: 1. The twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites' lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants. (See Numbers 13; Numbers 14). 2. The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah were destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE (Anno Mundi [AM] 3175) after a two-year siege and the Judaeans were sent into the Babylonian exile. According to the Talmud in tractate Ta'anit, the destruction of the First Temple began on the Ninth of Av and the Temple continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av. 3. The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE (AM 3830), scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land. 4. The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews, on July 8, 132 CE (Av 9, AM 3892). 5. Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and the surrounding area, in 133 CE. Note: Due to a two-year difference within the Hebrew calendar, the years in which the First and Second Temple were destroyed have been disputed. Though it has been accepted by most historians to refer to the most modern interpretation of the Calendar (which corresponds to the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.) Other calamities Over time, Tisha B'Av has come to be a Jewish day of mourning, not only for these events, but also for later tragedies. Regardless of the exact dates of these events, for many Jews, Tisha B'Av is the designated day of mourning for them, and these themes are reflected in liturgy composed for this day (see below). Other calamities associated with Tisha B'Av: • The episode of the Golden calf (17th of Tammuz) in which the Hebrews, after their exodus from Egypt, reintroduced idolatry as a form of spirituality. • The First Crusade officially commenced on August 15, 1096 (Av 24, AM 4856), killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland. A grand total of 1.2 million Jews were killed by this crusade that started on the 9th of Av.  • The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290 (Av 9, AM 5050). • The Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306 (Av 10, AM 5066). • The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492 (Av 7, AM 5252). • Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9-10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.  • On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, AM 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for "The Final Solution". Almost one third of world's Jewish population were captured and killed at that time. • On the July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka. • Most religious communities use Tisha B'Av to mourn the 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust, including special kinnot composed for this purpose (see the main kinnot article) (in addition to, or instead of, the secular Holocaust Memorial Days.) On the 10th of Av the following events took place: • AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 and injuring 300 on 18 July 1994; 10 Av, AM 5754. • Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", or Hitnatkut, began 10 Av, AM 5765; 15 August 2005.
Laws and customs Tisha B'Av falls in July or August in the Western calendar. When Tisha B'Av falls on the Shabbat (Saturday) observance of Tisha B'Av takes place on Sunday. No outward signs of mourning intrude upon the normal Sabbath, although normal Sabbath eating and drinking end at sunset, rather than nightfall. The fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the preceding evening lasting until nightfall the next day. In addition to fasting, other pleasurable activities are also forbidden. Main prohibitions Tisha B'Av bears a similar stringent nature to that of Yom Kippur. In addition to the length of the fast which lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the eve of Tisha B'Av and ends at nightfall the following day, Tisha B'Av also shares the following five prohibitions: 1. No eating or drinking; 2. No washing or bathing; 3. No application of creams or oils; 4. No wearing of (leather) shoes; 5. No marital relations. These restrictions are waived in the case of health issues. For example, those who are seriously ill may eat and drink. On other fast days almost any medical condition may justify breaking the fast; in practice, since many cases differ, consultation with a rabbi is often necessary. Ritual washing up to the knuckles is permitted. Washing to cleanse dirt or mud from one's body is also permitted. Additional customs Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'av (as it is considered a spiritually enjoyable activity), except for the study of distressing texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss the laws of mourning. In synagogue, prior to the commencement of the evening services, the parochet is removed or drawn aside lasting until after the fast. The parochet is the "curtain" or "screen" normally covers and adorns the Aron Kodesh ("Torah Ark") containing the Sifrei Torah ("Torah scrolls"). According to the Rema it is customary to sit on low stools or on the floor, as is done during shiva, from the meal immediately before the fast, the seudah hamafseket, until midday (chatztot hayom). It is customary to eat a hard boiled egg, and also a piece of bread dipped into ashes during this meal. The Beit Yosef rules that the custom to sit low to the ground extends until one prays Mincha (the afternoon prayer). If possible, work is avoided during this period. Electric lighting may be turned off or dimmed, and kinnot recited by candlelight. Some sleep on the floor or modify their normal sleeping routine, by sleeping without a pillow, for instance. People refrain from greeting each other or sending gifts on this day. Old prayerbooks and Torah scrolls are often buried on this day. The custom is to not put on Tefilin for morning services (Shacharit) of Tisha be-Av, and not a Talit, rather only wear the personal talit kattan without a blessing. At Mincha services Tzitzit and tefilin are worn, with proper blessings prior to donning them. End of fast Although the fast ends at nightfall, according to tradition, the First Temple continued burning throughout the night and for most of the following day, the tenth of Av. It is therefore customary to refrain from eating meat, drinking wine, bathing, cutting hair, doing laundry, listening to music, making a shehechiyanu blessing until midday (chatzos) of the following day. When Tisha B'Av begins on Saturday night, the Havdalah ritual at the end of Shabbat is truncated (using a candle but no spices), without a blessing over wine. After Tisha B'Av ends on Sunday evening, another Havdalah ceremony is performed with wine (without candle or spices). The laws of Tisha B'Av are recorded in the Shulchan Aruch (Literally "The Set Table", a code of Jewish Law") Orach Chayim 552-557.