Lent is the liturgical season that prepares us for Christ’s death and Resurrection. In this season of penitential preparation, we turn our hearts and minds to God through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Almost everyone knows the date of Christmas as December 25, but Lent’s date and schedule are not quite as easy to remember.
The key dates of Lent—highlighted by Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday—change each year, along with the date of Easter.
Hallow breaks down the full schedule of key dates for Lent in 2023 below.
Lent 2023 Key Dates and Frequently Asked Questions
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
Lent lasts for 40 days because Christ suffered in the desert for 40 days.
Ash Wednesday always falls six and half weeks before Easter.
Fat Tuesday is the final day before Lent. In 2023, it takes place on February 21. Fat Tuesday is known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day in other parts of the world.
Easter is a moveable feast as opposed to a fixed date each year. Easter being celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of spring (March 21 or later) dates back to the Council of Nicea in 325.
Lent lasts 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, excluding Sundays. Sundays are an important part of Lent, but we do not include them in the “40 days” because on every Sunday we remember and celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in the Mass.
Technically, the Church does not obligate us to fast on Sundays. However, the Sundays during Lent are still part of the Lenten season. Choosing to continue your Lenten sacrifice on Sunday is a personal choice.
Palm Sunday, the last Sunday during Lent, takes place on April 2 in 2023. It signifies Jesus’s triumphant return to Jerusalem after spending 40 days and nights in the desert. At Mass, we celebrate his return and our desire to follow him.
Lent ends with the start of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. This year, Lent ends on April 6, 2023.
Good Friday takes place between Palm Sunday and Easter, as part of the Easter Triduum. It will occur on April 7, 2023, one day after Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday in some traditions.)
Easter falls on Sunday, April 9, 2023.
Orthodox Lent (known as Great Lent) begins on Wednesday, Feb. 27 according to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It follows Forgiveness Sunday, also known as Cheesefare Sunday.
SEE MORE: Lent Prayers
SEE ALSO: Happy Easter Wishes