Lent is the period from Shrove Tuesday to Easter and many people today still mark Lent by giving up things like chocolate. It symbolises the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the Devil.
In Tudor times, the beginning of the six weeks of Lent was marked by Shrovetide which began on Shrove Sunday, the 7th Sunday before Easter. This occasion was marked by celebratory jousts and banquets, as it was the last oportunity to enjoy rich foods like eggs, cheese and meat before the fasting of Lent, when such foods were forbidden. The day after Shrove Sunday was called Collup Monday and Tudor people enjoyed a collup, a piece of fried or roast meat. On Shrove Tuesday the masques, jousts and other celebrations would take place. Other Shrovetide traditions included threshing the cock - people throwing things at a tied up cockerel and trying to win a prize by being the one to kill it.
In churches, a Lent veil was used to hide the chancel from the nave and cloths would cover the altar and lectern. This symbolised that the way to salvation was hidden.
It was not only the King and Queen who could not be intimate during Lent, sex was forbidden during Lent as Lent was seen as a period of abstention from the good things in life.


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