This year I have no idea what to give up. They say instead of giving something up you can add something to your life..that requires dedication, serves others; whether that is God or people in general.
The act of 'fasting' and the rules that surround this vary from one religion to another, and in some cases even from State to State, e.g. Louisiana fast from non-seafood meat only on Fridays during Lent, while really it is said that it should be any animal (product).
Its all just as confusing as Lent itself which is supposed to be until Easter. 40 days. But really it ends up being 46 days, but some say that each Sunday is like a 'mini-Easter' and you can 'cheat'. Say wha? I never heard that until last year, and again reminded this year during research.
I think most people go with what they were brought up with. For me that meant no eating meat on Fridays (unless it was fish or other seafood). I was never asked to give anything up but once I was old enough to figure all that out, I made my own decisions.
And it wasn't until the past few years that I started the practice of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Again, so many rules and 'outs'.. for example: In some places, believers abstained from food for an entire day; others took only one meal each day, while others abstained from all food until 3 o'clock. In most places, however, the practice was to abstain from eating until the evening, when a small meal without vegetables or alcohol was eaten.
I have not eaten at all on Ash Wednesday (from the last meal on Tuesday until breakfast on Thursday)... the last 2 years but did eat on Good Friday, mostly because I had to run on Saturday. :O/ This year my plan is to, on Good Friday, eat the one meal.
My other plan is to add the act of fasting one day a week during Lent. There is a lot out there on why fasting is 'close to God' and how it plays into spirituality. I won't bore you with that. I like to keep my spirituality close to the cuff...
And this year moreso than ever...I will still hear my mother's voice when she would call me EVERY Friday and simply say "Dont eat meat today!"
And from the scripture:
16... When you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting, only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.Do you or your family observe Lent? Ash Wednesday? Fridays during Lenten? What are you giving up? Do you fast?