lent

In Ireland, all the pubs are closed on Good Friday and no alcohol can be sold. This is one reaction to that law (from the Pitt Bros barbecue place in Great Georges Street in Dublin*).

*Which is quite good, by the way.

ETA: For those of you who have correctly pointed out that Catholics theoretically aren’t supposed to eat meat on Good Friday: (a) Some Catholics here don’t  observe the Lenten fast, even in its much-watered-down modern form. (b) There are a ton of people in Dublin who aren’t Catholic. …So I think the restaurant will probably do just fine on the day. (Come to think of it, Peter and I walked past it a couple of Fridays ago in the mid-afternoon and it was nearly full, Lent or no Lent. They can’t all have been tourists.)

For medieval Christians, Easter was particularly enjoyable because it came after six weeks of hard fasting and abstinence. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, when churchgoers were marked with ashes, Lent was a time when everyone, rich and poor, was expected to forgo many everyday pleasures.

The emphasis was on sacrifice and even commonplace foods such as eggs and meat had to be saved until the Easter celebrations. Eggs laid during the Lenten period were hardboiled to preserve them, a tradition which continues today in the painting of hardboiled eggs.

More on this

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These seven psalms, 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142 (Vulgate numbering) have long been associated with penitential devotions. St. Augustine is said to have had them placed before him to read while he was on his deathbed. They have also been often commended as a defense against the seven deadly sins, each Psalm being associated with one of them. 

  1. Psalm 6 - against Pride
  2. Psalm 31 - against Greed 
  3. Psalm 37 - against Anger
  4. Psalm 50 - against Lust
  5. Psalm 101 - against Gluttony 
  6. Psalm 129 - against Envy
  7. Psalm 142 - against Sloth