This upcoming Wednesday, the Lenten season officially begins, and it'll last for 40 days until Easter Sunday on April 21. For many Christians, Lent is a time to focus on faith by giving up something that's usually considered a pleasure or distraction. But the Lenten season is about more than just making sacrifices or abstaining from certain foods, it's also a powerful period of reflection.
Simply put, "Lent is a time of quiet to hear the call of God to serve," Jesuit priest James Martin, SJ, told Catholic Relief Services. Technically, there are three main tenets of Lent: prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. While everyone observes Lent differently, many people tend to stick to the "fasting" portion of the season — but there are plenty of other things people can do to or add to their lives, that allow you to develop a closer personal connection to God.
How and if you choose to recognize Lent is up to you. But if you're looking for some fresher Lenten ideas than just giving up chocolate, here are a few ways you can observe the 40-day period this year.