Why Lent is Important Even if You Aren't Religious

Lent is a Catholic holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the Christian day for holy peace. This year, Ash Wednesday fell on Feb. 14, 2018 and lasts until Easter. It is a ritual done in order to open up spiritually before Good Friday and Easter Sunday come around, which falls on April 1, 2018 this year. By doing this, it allows a person to take in the full experience of Easter and what it truly is, instead of just celebrating it like any other day. Catholics and other Christian denominations take these 40 days, giving up something in order to work on their personal self-control, and acknowledge the reoccurring sin in their lives. In addition to this, the diet of Lent is normal during the week, but on Fridays you are supposed to keep most meat out of your diet - fish and other seafood are okay to eat.

To me, Lent is always a very exciting and important time. Being in college, I will admit that I sometimes distant from my faith since I do not attend church regularly like I would if I was home with my family. However, I still pray every day and acknowledge how thankful I am for the day. However, I still feel some slight disconnect.

I am not of Catholic faith. I am predominately Baptist Christian, but my family is pretty open-minded and attend other denominations from time to time as well. With that being said, Lent is still celebrated in my family and always has been a big deal. We usually give up something that doesn’t benefit us for the 40 days, whether in regards to lifestyle and diet or other things that we partake in during our day-to-day lives. This year, I have decided to give up soda and red meat. In my household and now in college living on my own, I am a pretty self-disciplined and health conscious individual, but these are two weaknesses that when I’m eating out with friends or family, I always feel a need to indulge in. The harm that soda and red meat does to my body, as well as the how I feel after indulging in such things makes me feel bad about myself. We all have our vices or moments that we are not always proud of, and that is why this time, for me, is a time of reflection about all things.

As for non-Catholics or even non-Christians, I think this principle is something that can be acknowledged and practiced by all. Even if not acknowledged in the religious aspect, I think as humans we all need to experience moments where we really sit back and reflect on our decisions. We are not always our best selves, which is okay and normal for human beings, but since we can acknowledge that, I think it is important to take moments to better ourselves.

Photos by Eleanor Ritzman