Anglo-Saxon: lencten, spring
A season of penance set apart by the Church in memory of the forty days fast of Our Lord in the desert, and as a means of sanctification for her members. It begins on Ash Wednesday, consists of 6.5 weeks preceding Easter, and includes 40 fasting days, which are weekdays. The Sundays are a part of the Lenten season, but are not days of fasting or abstinence. The date of Lent varies according to the date of Easter. The origin of this penitential season is obscure; its length has varied in different ages, but the principle of a fast of 40 days (Latin: quadragesima Italian: quaresima French: careme) has been recognized since the 4th century.