Lent, the Christian observance meant to symbolize Jesus Christ’s sacrifices before crucifixion, begins Wednesday. During 40-day fasting period, many Christians choose something to give up until Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
But unlike the biblical stories about Christ’s sacrifices, most faithful observers are not going without food for more than month. Many choose to go without things that will allow them more time for reflection and repentance – it’s why giving up technology, such as social media and TV, has become increasingly popular during Lent.
According to a survey commissioned this year by British baking goods company Homepride, 10 percent of adults said they planned on giving up chocolate for Lent. Another 6 percent of people plan said they planned to give up sweets altogether, while another 5 percent said they would go without alcoholic beverages.
The Homepride survey also found that 47 percent of respondents did not plan on giving up anything at all during Lent, even though they are observant Christians.
In the last couple of years, food-related restrictions have been the most popular of Lent sacrifices. In 2014, 88 percent of people surveyed by faith-focused research firm Barna Group said they would give up some form of food.
Even though the practice seems trivial, it’s connected to the most sacred celebrations for Christians. Christ is said to have endured 40 days without food during the events that led up to his crucifixion and the forgiveness of man’s sins. Today, most Christians give up a vice to honor Christ’s love and renew their faith, according to religious scholars.
In 2015, the Washington Post compiled a list of nearly a dozen of the most popular Lent sacrifices based on their mentions in social media posting. The ideas including the following, from most popular to least popular: chocolate, Twitter, swearing, alcohol, soda, social networking, sweets, and fast food.