Chantal (Rococo’s founder) mentioned in passing that people giving up chocolate for Lent can, of course, still eat it on Sundays.
‘I went to a convent school and all of the nuns agreed… Sundays aren’t included, and if you count the days Lent is actually longer than 40 days. And if the nuns said we were allowed chocolate on Sundays then we must be!’
She’s right. Have you ever counted it on a calendar? There are 46 days in Lent, not 40.
Lent covers 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, a period when Christians prepare themselves for the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, often through prayer, repentance, self-denial and giving time or money to good causes. Different churches vary slightly in custom, but the length of Lent mirrors the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In the Western Church though, Sundays are important days of holy obligation and celebration in their own right and have therefore always been kept separate.
Today Lent is a cultural institution as well as a religious one in the UK. Traditionally people would give up animal products for Lent, and would eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up eggs, butter and milk before the fast. Now many people give up chocolate, wine, bread, junk food, video games or anything else they perceive as a vice because it will do them good.
So if you’ve given up chocolate for Lent and are finding it a struggle, take heart. Today is Sunday and you’re allowed to indulge, so perhaps a few squares of good dark chocolate or a truffle or two are in order…
Images: James Murphy
What do you think? Do you take part in Lent? What have you given up, and are you giving yourself Sundays off?