You are probably aware that yesterday was Ash Wednesday and that begins a 46-day period known as Lent where many Christians give up something, usually food-related.

It could also be something like smoking and another option is to commit to a cause that benefits others.  The sacrifice is actually only for 40 days because the holiday period does not include Sundays and it ends on April 20, the day before Easter.

Since this all ties in to spring many non-Christians use this period to make a sacrifice of their own so I wanted to survey my fellow co-workers and Facebook friends to see what if anything they were going to give up during this period.  Here are some results:

  • There were the expected candy, cookies, soda, ice cream, meat, bread, sugar, and coffee/caffeine.
  • Alcohol was mentioned but note that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday so it’s not as great a sacrifice for some who like to celebrate the holiday.\
  • Dairy products
  • Smokeless Tobacco
  • Plastic (because of its negative impact on the environment).
  • Swearing and sarcasm
  • Not speaking ill of others or engaging in that type of conversation.

There are many who will use this period for the benefit of others.  Donating clothes and other items was mentioned often and several people are committed to the Forty Days-Forty Items Challenge in which each day you remove one item from your house that you no longer wear or need and put it into a trash bag.  At the end of the forty days you donate them to a place that will share them with someone who could really use one.

Others have vowed to spend more time in prayer and reflection, commit to health and fitness including 40 minutes on a treadmill for 40 days.

Then there are those who can’t avoid trying to get a laugh when asked, “What are you giving up?” Snow, Diets, Exercise and Lent (which covers everything).

In full disclosure I have vowed to give up fast food with the exception of Chick-Fill-A which is closed on Sunday so I’ll allow myself an occasional visit.