Spirituality In Food, What Is Lent?

The revelry of Mardi Gras is over, which means that Lent has begun.  Once the gumbo has run out, and the moonpies have all been eaten, the fasting of lent begins, a period of spirituality that is connected to food. Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  It symbolizes the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, resisting temptation from the devil.  Christians may fast during lent, giving up food or alcohol.  Though traditionally Lent required alms giving, prayer, and fasting, contemporary interpretations of Lent Western Christianity vary.  Many Christians choose to give up chocolate, dessert, cheese, or another indulgence.

Sometimes fasting for lent verges on the bizarre.  J. Wilson is giving up everything but water and Rockbottom Brewery's Illuminator Doppelbock. Lest you think he's doing this as a meaningless stunt, Wilson is not over-indulging on ale, but following in the steps of the 17th century Paulaner monks, who would occasionally partake in "soul-cleansing fasts where they would not consume solid food" but only the Doppelbock brew.

Lent is not just about giving up food or alcohol, however.  A great way to celebrate this time of sacrifice is to give up a bad habit, or adopt a good habit, such as charitable giving. 

For Christians, Lent is a time to get in touch with your spiritual compass.