What is Quaresma?

June 21, 2024


Quaresma, also known as Lent, is a period of 40 days of fasting, prayer, and penance observed by Christians leading up to Easter Sunday. It is a time of reflection and spiritual growth, as believers prepare themselves for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. In this glossary, we will explore the origins, traditions, and significance of Quaresma in the Christian faith.

Origins of Quaresma

The tradition of Quaresma dates back to the early days of Christianity, when believers would fast and pray in preparation for Easter. The 40-day period is symbolic of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert before beginning his ministry. Over time, the observance of Quaresma became a widespread practice in the Christian church, with each denomination having its own customs and traditions.

Traditions and Practices

During Quaresma, believers are encouraged to engage in acts of self-denial and spiritual discipline. This may include fasting from certain foods or activities, attending church services, and participating in charitable works. Many Christians also use this time to reflect on their own sins and seek forgiveness through prayer and repentance.

Significance of Quaresma

Quaresma holds great significance in the Christian faith as a time of spiritual renewal and preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a period of introspection and self-examination, as believers seek to deepen their relationship with God and grow in their faith. The practices of fasting and prayer during Quaresma are seen as a way to purify the soul and draw closer to God.

Symbolism of Quaresma

The number 40 holds special significance in the Bible, representing a period of testing, trial, and preparation. In the Old Testament, Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, while Elijah fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus himself fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry, setting a precedent for believers to follow in his footsteps during Quaresma.

Observance of Quaresma

Quaresma is observed in various ways by different Christian denominations, with some placing a greater emphasis on fasting and penance, while others focus more on prayer and reflection. In some traditions, believers may abstain from meat on Fridays or give up a favorite food or activity for the duration of the season. The goal is to create a sense of discipline and self-control, as well as to draw closer to God through acts of devotion.

Impact of Quaresma

Quaresma has a profound impact on the lives of believers, helping them to deepen their faith and grow closer to God. The season serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for humanity and the need for repentance and forgiveness. By engaging in acts of self-denial and spiritual discipline, believers are able to purify their hearts and minds, preparing themselves for the joyous celebration of Easter.

Modern-Day Observance

In today’s fast-paced world, the observance of Quaresma may look different for each individual. Some may choose to give up social media or television, while others may focus on acts of service and charity. The important thing is to use this time to draw closer to God and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, allowing for personal growth and spiritual renewal.


Quaresma is a time of spiritual reflection and preparation for the celebration of Easter, with believers engaging in acts of fasting, prayer, and penance. The season holds great significance in the Christian faith, serving as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and the need for repentance and forgiveness. By observing Quaresma, believers are able to deepen their faith and grow closer to God, preparing themselves for the joyous celebration of Easter Sunday.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.