The Lent of my childhood in 1980s Ireland was driven by a complex set of rules and norms, some of which I’ve listed below:
1. “Giving up sweets” had many interpretations. It could in fact exclude crisps, cake and in extreme cases, even chocolate. And chocolatey sweets, like Minstrels, which were technically deemed to be chocolate (at a stretch).
2. Lent could reignite the “is it a biscuit or is it a bar” KitKat debate – I haven’t forgotten an eight-year-old classmate gorging on KitKat “biscuits” while the rest of us looked forlornly at our corned beef sandwiches.
3. Popcorn was suddenly a health food.
4. All sweets and chocolate received during lent were stored in an individual box by each child – the aim being to build up as big a stash as possible for Easter Sunday consumption. “Giving up” was actually just “delaying”
5. Sundays were a break from lent in some houses. The box of treats that had been building up all week comes in handy on Sundays.
6. St Patrick’s Day was a break from lent in every house. It could happen that the entire stash-box was emptied, and March 18th meant a re-start from scratch.
7. Siblings had to end up with the exact same contents in the stash-boxes on Easter Sunday or there would be WAR.
8. Someone always said “You know what I’m giving up for Lent? Giving up things”
Which ones did I miss?