Lent is the longest and certainly the most important for Orthodox Christians annual multi-day fast. It lasts 49 days, 7 spring weeks, and takes place at different times, since its beginning and end depend entirely on the date of Easter, which changes annually.
Determining the date of Easter is a rather complicated calendar-mathematical operation, calculated on the lunar-solar calendar. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon, which came after the day of the vernal equinox. Moreover, the full moon and equinox are understood not as astronomical phenomena, but as dates obtained by calculation. The method of calculating the date of Easter is called Easter.
Two different easter eggs are currently used. Starting from 1583 the Catholic Church uses the Gregorian Easter, which takes the March 21 equinox according to the Gregorian calendar for calculations, while most Orthodox churches adhere to the Alexandrian Easter (March 21, according to the Julian calendar). In addition, in the Alexandrian Easter, the calculated Easter full moon occurs 4-5 days later than the real astronomical full moon.
Easter can be celebrated on one of 35 days from April 4 to May 8. And accordingly, Lent can begin on any Monday from February 15 to March 21.
The essence and meaning of Lent comes down to preparing a person for the most important church holiday in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ – Easter, which provides for the restoration of harmony between the human body and soul. It is thanks to various restrictions in food and in earthly pleasures that each person brings up a spirit in himself, which should govern the human body, and not vice versa.
Eating during fasting involves serious restrictions. It is forbidden to eat meat and meat products, eggs, dairy products, animal fats, as well as confectionery containing them, and fish and wine are allowed only in the so-called. days of relaxation or on holidays. Lean foods include cereals (bread, cereals), legumes, including soy, vegetables, fruits, berries, mushrooms, nuts, spices, honey, vegetable oils.
The main problem with fasting is the lack of a complete protein diet. In this regard, protein-rich foods from legumes and vegetable milk are of particular importance for the lean table. It is these products that help maintain the entire post without breaking, observing all its requirements and rules. The main thing is to remember that the most strict from the point of view of nutrition are the 1st week, when St. Fourth of Pentecost, and last Holy Week before Easter.
The Russians have already accumulated considerable experience with such abstinence, using a wide range of vegetarian foods in their diet. And if at the beginning of the 20th century such lean products as hemp, almond and poppy milk were popular in Russia, then in our time they were replaced by soy milk and products based on it (yogurts, sour cream, mayonnaise, tofu and other vegetable dairy products) as well as a variety of vegetarian convenience foods and dry soy products. Their everyday use, despite the absence of animal products in the human diet, allows not only to supplement and diversify the table, but also not to reduce the level of intake of basic nutrients and their quality.