Lent, how to explain its meaning to children?
Many are the holidays and dates that are lived throughout the year, some very simple as a birthday, in which each person celebrates a new anniversary in their life. In other cases the explanation is more complex, enclosing a curious story that is worth knowing while being celebrated. A good example is Lent, which marks the stage prior to Holy Week.
While it is easy to relate Holy Week to the Passion of Christ, the Lent and all the acts that it entails can seem a little strange for the smallest of the house. And there is nothing better than a good explanation to leave doubts, in this way not only will understand the meaning of these forty days, but also learn much more about the past and culture in which the child develops.
Lent begins in Ash Wednesday and it goes on for forty days until Holy Thursday. This number of days has been taken from biblical references of episodes such as the 40 years that the people of Israel wandered through the desert to reach the Promised Land.
However, it was not until the Christians began to celebrate Easter as a feast in their calendar, when they began to popularize the preparation for this important event such as the Passion of Christ. In its beginnings, these moments were related to a total fast on Good Friday and the Saturday prize to the Easter Sunday.
It is not until S. VI when the structure of the forty days begins to consolidate, it takes over. Throughout time, Lent has had many forms, from a complete fast, to what is known today: to renounce certain activities as a form of penance. An attitude with which Christians purify their souls before reaching Easter Sunday. The Lenten period concludes on Holy Thursday morning with the Chrism Mass, celebrated by a bishop with his presbyters.
Lent with children
If you decided to celebrate Lent in your home, there is several ideas to involve children in these activities. These are some of the practices that can be done among all:
- Practice solidarity. Lent can also be a great time to unleash solidarity. A good opportunity for children to take out the best they can offer the world.
- Quit something. The fast may be too strong for a child, but if he / she gives up something that is habitual in his day to day life, he / she will be able to approach what his / her parents practice during this time.
- Join the activities of the community. The parishes near home can organize activities during the Lenten period and all household members are invited to participate.