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Converts to Catholicism followed a strict catechumenate or period of instruction and discipline prior to baptism.In Jerusalem near the close of the fourth century, classes were held throughout Lent for three hours each day.The day for beginning the Lenten fast is the following Monday, the first weekday in Lent.The special Ash Wednesday fast is transferred to the first Friday of the Ambrosian Lent.In languages spoken where Christianity was earlier established, such as Greek and Latin, the term signifies the period dating from the 40th day before Easter.In modern, Greek the term is Σαρακοστή, derived from the earlier Τεσσαρακοστή, meaning "fortieth".Among the Oriental Orthodox, there are various local traditions regarding Lent.

Throughout Christendom, some adherents mark the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat, most notably among Roman Catholics.

The terms used in Filipino are kuwaresma (from the Spanish) and Mahál na Araw ("precious/great days"); the latter term is also used specifically for Holy Week.

Various Christian denominations calculate the 40 days of Lent differently. In the Roman Rite, the definition of Lent varies according to different documents. While the official document on the Lenten season, Paschales Solemnitatis, says that "the first Sunday of Lent marks the beginning of the annual Lenten observance", The first source represents a period of 40 days and the second a period of 44 days, because both sources agree that the end of Lent comes the evening of Holy Thursday, before the Mass of the Lord's Supper. In the Ambrosian Rite, Lent begins on the Sunday that follows what is celebrated as Ash Wednesday in the rest of the Latin Catholic Church, and ends as in the Roman Rite, thus being of 40 days, counting the Sundays but not Holy Thursday.

Lent (Latin: Quadragesima: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.

The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial.

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