Lent is a solemn religious observance 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, penance, repentance of sins, and self-denial. In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence[1].

For Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one's intake of food, while abstinence refers to refraining from meat (or another type of food). According to Canon Law, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, both abstinence and fasting are required of Catholics who are not exempted for various reasons. All Fridays of the year are also days of penance.  The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays popularized the Friday fish fry[2].

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  1. Wikipedia: Lent
  2. Wikipedia: Fasting and abstinence in the Roman Catholic Church