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Ash Wednesday 2014: Christians prepare for Easter with sacrifices for Lent

Ash Wednesday 2014: Christians prepare for Easter with sacrifices for Lent
Ash Wednesday 2014: Christians prepare for Easter with sacrifices for Lent Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday 2014 and the official beginning of Lent. For Christians, Lent is the 40-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday. According to an IBTimes report on March 4, many Christians (mostly Catholics) will head to church on Ash Wednesday to have ashes placed on their forehead in the shape of a cross. The cross is put on believer's foreheads as a reminder of human mortality.

Also, millions of believers in Christ choose to give or sacrifice something they love for the 40 days as a sort of self-penance. Some people choose to give up sweets, soda pop, cigarettes or whatever vice they struggle with.

Although Lent is observed by Christians, not all Christians observe the same way. Lent is most commonly observed by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists, but the rules they follow when it comes to fasting, prayer and sacrifices can be different.

Many people often ask why Lent is 40 days long, or in some years even a bit longer.

The answer for Christians comes straight from the Bible.

It is believed that Lent is 40 days long for the 40 days Jesus spent wandering the desert fighting off Satan's temptations. Another reason is the story from the Old Testament when the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years.

These stories have been debated by scholars for hundreds of years but for believers there is no doubt that the Bible is the truth and Lent is a reason for celebration.

Will you be sacrificing something for Lent? If so, what will it be?