If asked when does Lent begin, many people will be prompt to answer that this 40 day period begins on Ash Wednesday and some would even add that it ends with Easter Sunday. This invariably means that you need to know Easter Sunday date to find out the date on which the Lent season begins in a particular year.
Ash Wednesday is considered to be the first day of Lent, and therefore its date is determined on the basis of Easter date. Basically, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras and Good Friday dates are calculated on the basis of Easter date which is, in turn, calculated in accordance to the Lunisolar calendar.
The Season of Lent
As per the Christian tradition, Lent is a period of 40 weekdays between the Ash Wednesday and the Holy Saturday, wherein believers resort to prayer, penitence, alms giving and self-denial.
Only weekdays are taken into consideration when counting the 40 day period, as Sundays represent mini-Easter, each of which mark the celebration of Lord Jesus Christ's victory over sin and death. The main purpose of this 40 day observance is to reflect his godliness - his life, his death and his resurrection.
According to the Holy Bible, these 40 days represent the time which Jesus spent in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry.
Within the season of Lent, there exist several holy days - including the Ash Wednesday (i.e. the first day of Lent), the Palm Sunday (marks the beginning of the Holy Week), Maundy Thursday (a day Christians commemorate the Last Supper) and Good Friday (commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ). Easter Sunday is a day to celebrate his resurrection.
Lent begins on 6th March this year, with Ash Wednesday - which falls 46 days before Easter Sunday. Now Easter Sunday being a movable feast, based on the Lunisolar calendar, falls on a different day every year, and thus even the date of Ash Wednesday changes every year.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lent Season, and the fact that it falls on a different day every year invariably means that the Lent season begins on a different day every year.
To determine the date of Lent season, we have to find out when Easter Sunday will be observed. As per the Lunisolar calendar, which determines date for Easter celebrations, Easter Sunday falls on 21st April in 2019. If we believe that Lent begins with Ash Wednesday - which falls 40 weekdays or 46 days before Easter Sunday, it will begin on 6th March, 2019.
So the season of Lent will begin on 6th March (Ash Wednesday) and end on 20th April (Holy Saturday) in 2019. Similarly, Mardi Gras - which is celebrated a day before the Lent season begins, will fall on 5th of March in 2019, Maundy Thursday on 18th April and Good Friday on 19th April, 2019.
The Lent dates for coming years can also be determined by the same method. The 40 weekdays period will begin on 26th of February in 2020, 17th February in 2021, 2nd March in 2022, 22nd of February in 2023, 14th of February in 2024 and 5th of March in 2025.
If you know the date on which Easter Sunday falls according to the Lunisolar calendar, you can easily calculate the date for Ash Wednesday - which happens to be the beginning of Lent.