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Well, this is it: the first day of the most difficult 40 days in the calendar year – at least for me.
Lent starts today. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks (40 days) later on Holy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter Sunday.
Each year, I struggle with what I should give up during Lent. Over the years, friends have suggested I pass on Brussels sprouts or sardines. But that’s not how it should work – although I do love both those things. It’s about sacrifice.
There’s one thing I turn to, perhaps more often than I should, to re-energize, to settle my nerves, for comfort and reward. Chocolate. I don’t eat a lot of it at a time, but one square of lovely dark chocolate does the trick. So, that’s what I give up for Lent every year. My sister also abstains from chocolate during Lent. A few years ago, she called to ask if I thought she could have hot chocolate. She said it might be OK if she drank the chocolate. She didn’t like my answer.
While Monique and I usually walked around the house with long faces on Ash Wednesday, Grandma sprang out of bed and out the door. She couldn’t wait to see where the wind was coming from. Grandma Says: “Wherever the wind lies on Ash Wednesday, it continues during all Lent.”
A north wind implies a cold stretch; a south wind, a mild one; an east wind points to lots of dampness and a west wind to a cool, but dry stretch of weather. Make a note of today’s wind direction and let me know how it turns out, come Easter.
Back to chocolate for just a moment…
If you’re abstaining from eating chocolate during Lent, don’t watch the movie “Chocolat”…but I do encourage you to watch it after Easter. “Chocolat,” tells the story of Vianne Rocher, played by Juliette Binoche, who arrives in the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes at the beginning of Lent with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. She opens a small chocolaterie – during Lent! It’s delightful!
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network