Do you know what Mid-Lent is?

A few facts as to why the Church takes a little break in this period of abstinence.

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Celebrated this year on March 23, 2017, Mid-Lent marks, as its name suggests, the half-way period of this season of abstinence before Easter, which in olden times was observed very strictly—where even eggs were forbidden!

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So historically on this third Thursday of Lent, similar to Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, we would empty our reserves to not waste any leftover eggs that could not be conserved more than 20 days. We therefore got into the habit of making pancakes, donuts or other sweet patisseries. Then for the following 20 days we would re-stock eggs in preparation for the Easter celebrations. Nowadays there’s a tendency for Lent to be followed less diligently; and we’ve also got fridges to keep all our eggs fresh and also a fresh supply readily available from our local supermarkets or farmers’ markets on demand! So along the way Mid-Lent has lost its meaning.

Although we might not be so strict with our fasting habits, the modern-day Church does recognize this mid-way period. In the liturgy, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church takes a break from its regular Lenten purple liturgical vestments—the color of penance. On this day priests are given the opportunity to wear pink robes (a mix of purple and white): pink being the color of dawn, offering a glimpse of the joy we’re all preparing for in the coming of the resurrection of Jesus. This is known as the Sunday of “Laetare” from the Latin meaning rejoice.

Marie Le Goaziou
Marie Le Goaziou
Marie Le Goaziou has been a journalist for 25 years in the regional press (Ouest France) and the magazine, "Mon Jardin ma Maison." Also the author of fifty books on the art of living, Marie le Goaziou adores exploring popular traditions and culinary specialties in French regions. Originally from Brittany, she lives in the West but travels all over France looking for original and authentic experiences to share with readers.

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