40 days? 46 days? 44 days? 38 days? How many days of lent?

It depends what you consider days of lent.

If you start counting lent on Ash Wednesday, for obvious reasons, days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is 46 days. So do we fast more than Jesus, well not technically. I will try and explain in a second.

Could 44 days be an explanation, yes the Easter Triduum begins on Holy Thursday and it is not counted during lent, even though some of the elements remain, no use of alleluia (don’t worry you can say it outside of the liturgy!).

38 days? One explanation is that Sunday’s don’t count, this would work if Lent went through Easter Sunday, however the Church has never approached it in this way. 44 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday – 6 Sundays = 38 days.

So with all of these numbers is 40 days of lent actually possible? I will let an article by uscatholic.com to explain how this all works out. It isn’t straight forward but it does make sense. Lent isn’t 40 days but from Ash Wednesday to the Easter Vigil there are 40 days of fasting as the article attempts to show. One last note: some eastern rites begin Lent the 6th Sunday before Easter or what is now for us the First Sunday of Lent. Add 40 days to that date and you will end on Holy Thursday, when lent officially ends.

“The 40 days of Lent” has always been more of a metaphor than a literal count. Over the course of history the season of preparation for Easter Sunday has ranged from one day (in the first century) to 44 (today in the Roman church). Officially since 1970, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sunset on Holy Thursday.
Already at the Council of Nicea in 325 the bishops spoke of the quadragesima paschae (Latin for “40 days before Easter”) as the well-established custom. At that time Lent began on the sixth Sunday before Easter and ended at dusk on Holy Thursday—40 days. But the council also forbade fasting, kneeling, and any other acts of sorrow and penance on Sundays, even in Lent. So only 34 of the 40 days were for fasting.

Read the rest here.

In case the link doesn’t work here is the explanation. From the First Sunday of Lent or 40 days before Easter, there are 34 fasting days (40 days – 6 Sundays) if you start Lent on Wednesday that adds 4 days. Include Good Friday and holy Saturday as days of penance it adds up to 40. So there you go. (44 (days Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday) – 6 Sundays + Good Friday and Holy Saturday = 40 days of fasting)

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