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What Is Lent? When Is It? And What Should I Give Up?

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It's that time again!

Lent begins on March 5 (Ash Wednesday). It's an approximately six-week period in which Christians give up something, usually rich food, to show penitence for the death of Jesus and to emulate his example. Some non-Christians take part just to see how long they can go without their favourite things.

Here are a few luxuries that you can probably go without until April 17 (Holy Thursday), though keep in mind, Lent also extends to April 20 (Easter Sunday) in some denominations.

  • Smoking
    It's a bad habit and a tough one to break. What better time than now?
  • Deep Fried Food
    It's delicious and tempting and oh-so-bad for you. By the way, these are deep fried butter balls.
  • Swearing
    What's the cure for a salty tongue? Abstinence.
  • TV Binge-Watching
    You should have finished season two of "House of Cards" by now. Surely you can wait to catch up on "Game of Thrones"?
  • Meat
    Getty Images
    Learn what it's like to be a vegetarian!
  • Coffee
    Start your morning on pure energy and see how long you can last.
  • Video Games
    Chances are, you sit at work all day, then go home and park yourself for a game of "Titanfall." Break the habit and get active!
  • Carbon
    You read correctly. Park your car, take transit and avoid the stress of the morning rush. Anglican bishops actually urged people to take on a carbon fast back in 2010.
  • Devices
    Getty Images
    We're not saying you should give up your digital devices altogether, but maybe try to modify how much you use them. Put your phone or your tablet to bed when you get home and don't turn it on again until you're back at work the next day. Conveniently, the National Day of Unplugging falls on March 7-8, right after Lent begins.
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