When does Great Lent begin: the date in 2024
In 2024, Easter falls on May 5. Lent, which is the most important and strict, will begin on Monday, March 18, and end on Easter.
During the fasting period, believers give up meat, eggs, and dairy products, but the main meaning of this period is spiritual purification and good deeds. Learn more about Lent and its main traditions in the OBOZ.UA article.
Duration of Great Lent
The annual date of Lent depends on the date of Easter. This period begins on the Fourth of July and ends on Holy Week, the last week before Easter.
Lent in 2024 will last 48 days: from March 18 to May 4 inclusive.
Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, bringing hope and faith in eternal life. Fasting during this period is a symbol of purification from sins and evil thoughts to celebrate the holiday with a pure soul and bright thoughts.
Fasting also commemorates the 40-day period of wanderings and trials of Jesus Christ and the specific restrictions observed by Jesus before his crucifixion.
The first week of Lent
The entire first week is called Clean Week, and the first day of Lent is called Clean Monday. Traditionally, during this period, it is customary to eat vegetable preparations for the winter, pickles, mushrooms, and porridge.
The second week of fasting
The second week of Lent is popularly called the Second Week. It was a special time for unmarried girls to start embroidering clothes for their upcoming wedding.
The third and fourth weeks of Lent
The weeks in the middle of Lent are called Holy Week according to church tradition. For a long time, housewives used to bake cookies on Thursdays from lean dough (without eggs and butter). The pastries had to be shaped like crosses and decorated with raisins and poppy seeds.
The fifth week
This period is called the Week of Praise, timed to coincide with the Feast of the Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The last week of Lent
This is the most important period before Easter. On Palm Sunday, willow branches are blessed. Saturday is called Lazarus' Saturday because, according to the New Testament, Jesus raised Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, on this day. Good Friday is the most mournful day of the year. It was on this day that Jesus died for humanity.
What you can eat in Great Lent
Spiritual preparation for Easter consists of prayers, good deeds, and helping the needy, while bodily preparation consists of a transition to modest food.
During Lent, you should not eat:
- Meat products
- Milk and dairy products
- Alcoholic beverages
During Lent, you are allowed to eat:
- Plant foods, a variety of vegetables and fruits
- Pickles and fermented foods
- Lean breadcrumbs and dried foods
- Porridge on water without oil
- Lean bread
- Compotes and jelly
- Desserts such as dried fruits, honey, raisins, dried apricots, lean pastries with poppy seeds or jam, etc.
On major holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the fasting period, you can add lean oil, wine, and fish to your diet.
There is also a traditional meal schedule:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday: days of dry eating – vegetables and fruits are allowed, washed down with water or compote
- Tuesday and Thursday: you can eat hot dishes without adding oil
- Saturday and Sunday: hot food with oil is allowed
Pregnant women, sick and elderly people, as well as those facing difficult life circumstances, are allowed to relax the fast.