Birmingham challenges itself during 40 days of Lent

It’s T-minus 24 hours until the beginning of LENT – that time of year to give up something for 40 days. But what should you pick and why do people do it? Here’s the lowdown.

When does Lent start and what is it?

The Lent fast, which begins on Ash Wednesday, starts tomorrow! That’s right, tomorrow, February 14! Why does that date sound so familiar? Hint: it’s Valentine’s Day!

During Lent, certain foods (did you say chocolate?) or vices like alcohol (a glass of red wine, please!) are abstained from for 40 days. Traditionally, the purpose is to grow closer to God as Easter approaches.

Though it is a Christian tradition, many non-believers also get involved in the challenge. And it is definitely a challenge!

While food and alcohol are just two of the endless possibilities that people across the world, including in Birmingham, Alabama, deprive themselves of until the Thursday before Easter Sunday (also known as Holy Thursday).

Birmingham, Lent, Easter
Photo via @annlpz on Instagram.

According to Twitter, here are the top things people are planning to give up for Lent 2018:

  • Social Networking
  • Twitter
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Meat
  • Sweets
  • Coffee
  • Swearing
  • Soda – My own personal downfall! I need my daily hit of freshly fizzing Diet Coke.
  • Fast food
What should I give up for Lent?

Traditionally, Lent was a time to fast and give up eating certain foods. Often times, participants would have one proper meal a day and one or two lighter dishes to sustain strength. No fainting from low energy during Lent, please! I said fast from CERTAIN foods, not ALL food!

While some continue the traditional practice, others choose to cut out certain luxuries or indulgences in order to become healthier or even to save money.

So the question is, what should you choose to abstain from this year?

It may seem like an old-school tradition that not many practice, but many Birminghamians are currently gearing up for Lent 2018. Here’s a look at what local in the ‘ham are thinking to give up this year:

“Fried food/Fast food. It’s a big downfall for me and giving it up for 40 days will hopefully help me break the unhealthy habit.” – Krystal Holland, Homewood

Birmingham, Lent, Easter

“Smoking. It’s going to be really, really difficult. It’s been a goal of mine for a while and I’m hoping this will help me jumpstart breaking the habit.” – Joshua Ward, Birmingham

“Going to bed too late. I’m pretty sick of being tired all the time.” – Jessica Baker, Mountain Brook

“Texting. I’m starting to forget what certain peoples’ voices actually sound like.” – Amanda Jenkins, Trussville

“Caffeine. I love it, but I love it way too much.” – Sarah Wheeler, Hoover.

If you are looking for some more ideas as to what you can give up for Lent, consider the following:

  • Trips to Target – Talk about a tearful so long to the Holy Land!
  • Online shopping
  • Texting – Worried your thumbs will get bored? They could definitely use the break!
  • Yoga Pants – If you listen closely, you can almost hear all the Bham mamas screaming “Nooo!” Oh wait, that was me!
  • Always forgetting to reply to texts – It’s 2018, there’s no excuse in that!
  • Eating out.
  • Straightening/curling your hair – Well that could be a little frightening!
  • Complaining
  • Typing ‘lol’ when you aren’t really lol-ing
  • Spending money on things you don’t need

Remember, whatever you decide to give up is supposed to be challenging, something that will truly test you.

So what will you give up for Lent this year? Do you have tips for others?