They are not the only ones. I will be giving up meat till Easter and I'm a Salvationist (The Salvation Army) This is a personal choice for me and not necessary to be/become a Christian (in my opinion) I am doing this as a sacrifce and a submission to God, an act of faith and reverence, but for each of us, as Christians, it may hold a different meaning or no meaning at all, as in not observing Lent. All Christians should have at least two attitudes: (one) Love the LORD our God, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (two) Love each other as Christ has loved us, this second one is the stumbling block for many Christians and I have tripped and fallen myself. But we get up, we dust off ourselves and we continue on loving, both God and man, regardless of what they (man) believe.
I'm sure thaat you mean devout Christians, Lent isn't exclusive to Catholism.
It has to do with the 40 days that Jesus fasted before his crucifixion. People are supposed to fast or abstain from something in order to identify with the experience of Christ.
It originated as an internal body cleanse / detoxification of the body. Every culture has this practice. Lent is a bastardized version of this practice, as it is not very difficult and not very cleansing.
Jesus fasted 40 days after his baptism. Christians fast during the 40 days of lent to prepare for spiritually for the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus.
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