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Spring Purification Ritual

I don’t know who came up with the idea of giving up something at this time of year. I first encountered this practice as a part of Christian Lent, of course. I’ve been surprised to learn that many Christian practices actually have their roots in much older traditions, something which I find fascinating and deserving of more widespread awareness. I haven’t researched Lent, so I’m not sure what the origin of this seasonal abstinence might be — but in any case, I like it, especially when held up against the compulsively acquisitive aspects of our consumer-oriented society. Giving something up, abstaining from something rather than indulging. It’s refreshing.

So anyway. I have given up alcohol and haven’t had a drop since Mardi Gras. That feels like a good natural rhythm for me at this time of the year. It gives my liver a break and lets my mind explore sobriety.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve given up alcohol for Lent, though. I’ve just given it up. I don’t feel tied to any particular calendar, nor am I holding out ’til Easter. It popped in my mind that 36 1/2 days equals one-tenth of a year, so I decided to set that as my goal, which puts me up to April 2nd at noon.

I’m about a third of the way there.

Of course, I’m not holding my breath. I’ve done this before, and I know from past experience that sobriety can be alarmingly habit-forming.

Published inBodyHoly Daze


  1. Anthony Anthony

    well, the 40 days comes from the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert prior to his entrance into Jerusalem. But of course the Bible is filled with 40 days references, like the 40 days of rain in the Noah story, so I am certain it must be older than that. Perhaps if I had a better grasp of the Hebrew calendar I might be able to provide a better answer.

    Oh, and by the way, you do know that St. Patrick’s day is coming up?

  2. Sherry Whetstone Sherry Whetstone

    The timing of the Lenten fast may be grouped with three other fasts that were mandated by the Mideaval church. Each of these four fasts was related to a change in the seasons. Each season was thought to be “ruled” by a different humour: hot/cold, wet/dry and the change-over was considered to be fraught with danger to a person’s health. So your hunch about a “good natural rhythm” may be right in line with this concept…

  3. […] has been fun, but it’s not for me. There’s less than 48 hours ’til my arbitrary self-imposed abstinence regimen comes to an end and I allow myself to enjoy a drink. Or […]

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