Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 40 – All About 40


Lent has 40 days. So we were told.

I was brought up in a very Catholic family, Mass every Sunday, no meat on Fridays and Lent we were told were days of fast and abstinence.

Each year it was a matter of what are you giving up for Lent. Chocolate was a popular one. We used to receive these little moneyboxes called Project Compassion into which we placed all the small change we generated throughout the Lenten period.

Lent finished with Easter. I never liked Easter much as it was a series of Church goings that drove me crazy. The Sunday before Easter was Palm Sunday. This necessitated the reading of the passion of Christ, which was long, and you had to stand for it.

The following Thursday was Holy Thursday, an evening Mass where the priest washed the feet of twelve parishioners as at the Last Supper.

Friday was the Adoration of the Cross, another long event during which the passion was read again. Though in later years I did take over my church’s ceremony in that I had the passion read in parts, a Christ carrying a cross, one my dad made for me, and on one occasion I had the guy carrying the cross fall down in the middle of the church. Though my days were numbered when the conservative right wing branch of the parish frowned on me when I had the priest sit out the reading of Christ’s part in the passion, I had another guy do it much to the pleasure of the then Parish Priest who was happy to be given a break from it.

Saturday night was another Easter ceremony, with burning fire and candles. At least the Saturday service was the final one for Lent and Easter freeing us up for Easter Sunday and the Easter bunny.

So the 40 days of Lent and Easter were over. After we embraced the chocolate delivered by the pagan Easter bunny though in my house the no meat Fridays continued.

In was in much later life that I heard a better saying for the 40 days of Lent. Instead of what I was giving up for Lent, I was told it was better to say: What am I doing for Lent.

Though by then I had fallen by the wayside regarding my religious practice.



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17 Responses to Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 40 – All About 40

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    Great to know the ritual details! I like the last line “What am I doing for Lent?”. Thank you, Michael!

  2. calmkate says:

    sorry for your suffering, this all sounds positively torturous … glad I escaped the heavy guilt and burden of catholicism …

  3. When Tammuz was forty years old, he was hunting in the woods and he was killed by a wild boar (a pig) that is why we eat “ham” on Easter. After Tammuz died, his mother Semiramis began a custom in Babylon called “forty days of weeping for Tammuz” where people were commanded to fast and pray for Tammuz in the underworld.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Jim, you are such a font of information. I appreciate the explanation.

      • A font is the receptacle used for holding baptism water which collocates with the idea of wisdom being imparted and juxtaposition is the nearness of objects with no delimiter while collocation is the grouping or juxtaposition of things, especially words or sounds.

      • Michael says:

        Yes Jim you explain it so eloquently. Spot on and with your usual splash of wisdom and learning.

  4. Pingback: Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 41 – Reena Saxena

  5. athling2001 says:

    That’s a lot for one celebration. Love the ending.

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