Sadly, Pancake Day has been and gone and that can only mean one thing – Lent is here and the run-up to Easter has officially begun.

Today is Ash Wednesday which is an important day for Christians because it marks the start of Lent.

Many believers will choose to give up a vice during this time, but why and for how long?

Here’s what you need to know about Lent and the kinds of things people often give up if you’re looking for a little inspiration.

When does Lent 2020 end?

Lent begins each year on Ash Wednesday – the date of which varies each year because the date of Easter changes too.

The date of Easter changes because it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following or on the vernal equinox.

Lent lasts for 40 days until Maundy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter weekend.

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This year, Maundy Thursday falls on Thursday 9 April, meaning that Lent ends on that date.

Easter lands on Sunday 12 April.

The actual length of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter is 46 days, but some Christians believe that Sundays are excluded from Lent as they are traditionally days of rest and feast.

Some Christians also consider Lent over either at Sundown on Holy Saturday or during Easter Sunday.

What do people give up for Lent?

Lent is often marked by people ‘fasting’ or giving up certain vices in the run-up to Easter.

This is intended to represent the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert

Common things people give up during Lent are:

The tradition of fasting harkens back to 325 A.D.

MORE: Pancake Day 2020: Why do we have Shrove Tuesday and what does it mean?