Six weeks into 2015, we have already sidestepped the issue of our failed resolutions and moved on to the imminent inquisition; ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ I recently made my opinions on the futility of such hasty promises quite clear, but there’s something about the grand Irish tradition of Lent that seems a bit more achievable. If there’s an end date in sight, we’re far more likely to be successful. No-one is going to give up chocolate forever, like?
And that’s why these vows are always a bit more extreme and whimsical. I know a girl who forfeited not just watching TV, but Home & Away in particular. Cue running out of the kitchen at 6.30pm every evening.
The truth is that Ireland has evolved quite a bit. There has been a steep decline in mass attendance, despite the lure of hour-long sermons and free palm branches. These days we’re far more 50 Shades than 40 Days but yet, for some odd reason, we have preserved this sacrificial ritual. Devout Catholics and agnostics alike still discuss what they will surrender in the name of Jesus and weight loss.
So, bearing that in mind, here are a few things that you should consider abstaining from this Lenten period:
Pancake Tuesday is your last chance to feast, my pretties. The chocolatey spread is only an acceptable sandwich filler when you are eight years old. When you have to douse the jar in Fairy liquid to ensure you won’t eat it out of the bin, à la Miranda in Sex and the City, it’s time for a cooling off period. (R.I.P Michele Ferrero, you genius.)
It’s highly addictive in nature and correlative in nature to Lent itself. You wait for an eternity to be given your reward (be it Orange is the New Black or a Galaxy bar) and when the release date/Easter Sunday finally rolls around, you gorge yourself to an insane amount. Netflix is not good for the soul. We humans are better when television is regulated for us on a weekly basis so that we will once again know the feeling of fresh air and clean pyjamas.
Ok, this one might be a bit of a stretch. By all means, the facilities of text and call are appropriate, but people need to start ungluing themselves from their screens, myself included. If the lack of Wi-Fi in a public sphere has you shivering from withdrawal symptoms, then you need to get yourself a life.
You already know all the reasons why. At the very least, you won’t smell like Shane McGowan.
If like me, you’re still recovering from festivities and belated Christmas parties, then relinquishing the moonshine for 40 days is always a good shout. When you think about it, it’s really just an extended Dry January, but one that your brain and remaining dignity will thank you for. And you have a free pass for St Patrick’s Day, every self-respecting Christian knows that.
I’m just kidding.
Best of luck to you. And to Sister Assumpta.