When Is Lent?

Find the Dates of Lent in This and Other Years, and Links to Lenten FAQs

lent bread
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The dates of Lent, the season of penance and prayer before Easter, change every year. 

There are two common definitions of Lent, and the dates of the season will depend on which is used. Some Catholics define Lent as the period of the Lenten fast; others define Lent as a liturgical season. For most of the history of Christianity, the liturgical season of Lent was the same as the period of the Lenten fast, but since 1956, the liturgical season of Lent has ended before the Lenten fast does.

Both, however, start on Ash Wednesday.

The Lenten Fast

The traditional Lenten fast is what most people mean when they use the word Lent. When we refer to the 40 days of Lent, we mean the period of the Lenten fast, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. (There are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday, inclusive, but since fasting has never been allowed on Sundays, and there are six Sundays during Lent, that leaves us with 40 days.) These 40 days of fasting recall Christ's 40 days of fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry, Moses' 40 days of fasting on Mount Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments, and Noah's 40 days in the ark.

Lent as a Liturgical Season

From the time of Pope Gregory the Great, when the period of the Lenten fast was established as 40 days, until 1956 the liturgical season of Lent was the same as the Lenten fast.

In 1956, however, the liturgies for Holy Week were revised, and the Easter Triduum was established as its own liturgical season. That is the still the case under the new calendar used for the Novus Ordo, the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 (commonly known as the "New Mass" or the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, as distinguished from the Traditional Latin Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite).

Thus, as a liturgical season, Lent starts every year on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, when the Easter Triduum begins with the start of the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

When Is Lent This Year?

Since the dates of Ash WednesdayHoly Thursday, and Holy Saturday are dependent on the date of Easter, which is a moveable feast, Lent falls at a different time every year. (See How Is the Date of Easter Calculated? for more details.) Here are the dates when Lent begins and ends this year:

  • 2017: Ash Wednesday: March 1; Holy Thursday: April 13; Holy Saturday: April 15

When Is Lent in Future Years?

Here are the dates when Lent begins and ends next year and in future years:

  • 2018: Ash Wednesday: February 14; Holy Thursday: March 29; Holy Saturday: March 31
  • 2019: Ash Wednesday: March 6; Holy Thursday: April 18; Holy Saturday: April 20
  • 2020: Ash Wednesday: February 26; Holy Thursday: April 9; Holy Saturday: April 11
  • 2021: Ash Wednesday: February 17; Holy Thursday: April 1; Holy Saturday: April 3
  • 2022: Ash Wednesday: March 2; Holy Thursday: April 14; Holy Saturday: April 16
  • 2023: Ash Wednesday: February 22; Holy Thursday: April 6; Holy Saturday: April 8
  • 2024: Ash Wednesday: February 14; Holy Thursday: March 28; Holy Saturday: March 30
  • 2025: Ash Wednesday: March 5; Holy Thursday: April 17; Holy Saturday: April 19
  • 2026: Ash Wednesday: February 18; Holy Thursday: April 2; Holy Saturday: April 4
  • 2027: Ash Wednesday: February 10; Holy Thursday: March 25; Holy Saturday: March 27
  • 2028: Ash Wednesday: March 1; Holy Thursday: April 13; Holy Saturday: April 15
  • 2029: Ash Wednesday: February 14; Holy Thursday: March 29; Holy Saturday: March 31
  • 2030: Ash Wednesday: March 6; Holy Thursday: April 18; Holy Saturday: April 20

When Was Lent in Previous Years?

Here are the dates when Lent began and ended in previous years, going back to 2007:

  • 2007: Ash Wednesday: February 21; Holy Thursday: April 5; Holy Saturday: April 7
  • 2008: Ash Wednesday: February 6; Holy Thursday: March 20; Holy Saturday: March 22
  • 2009: Ash Wednesday: February 25; Holy Thursday: April 9; Holy Saturday: April 11
    • 2010: Ash Wednesday: February 17; Holy Thursday: April 1; Holy Saturday: April 3
    • 2011: Ash Wednesday: March 9; Holy Thursday: April 21; Holy Saturday: April 23
    • 2012: Ash Wednesday: February 22; Holy Thursday: April 6; Holy Saturday: April 8
    • 2013: Ash Wednesday: February 13; Holy Thursday: March 28; Holy Saturday: March 30
    • 2014: Ash Wednesday: March 5; Holy Thursday: April 17; Holy Saturday: April 19
    • 2015: Ash Wednesday: February 18; Holy Thursday: April 2; Holy Saturday: April 4
    • 2016: Ash Wednesday: February 10; Holy Thursday: March 24; Holy Saturday: March 26

    More FAQs About Lent

    Dates of Related Holidays