Once again, you can follow in real time what Twitter users say they are giving up for Lent, which this year begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6.
As in past years, food is the most popular category for abstention, followed by technology and “vices” like smoking and drinking alcohol.
After analyzing the first 1,500 tweets—both serious and sarcastic—OpenBible.info’s Stephen Smith noted that “perennial favorites” such as social networking, alcohol, and Twitter lead the list so far.
“If I had to guess, with an unusually cold February across much of the U.S., weather might feature more prominently this year than last year,” wrote Smith, who has tracked Lenten tweets since 2009.
Last year, food items were two to three times as popular to abstain from as technology items or personal habits, according to 29,609 tweets (excluding retweets) analyzed by Smith during the week of Ash Wednesday 2018.
Social networking ranked No. 1. The biggest increase: plastics.
CT previously reported how LifeWay Research offered a chance to compare Twitter’s serious vs. sarcastic sharers via a 2017 study on what Americans who observe the Lenten season before Easter say they actually give up:
Of note: 3 in 10 Americans with evangelical beliefs (28%) say they observe Lent; of these, 42 percent typically fast from a favorite food or beverage while 71 percent typically attend church services.
Catholics remain the most likely to observe Lent (61%), with 2 out of 3 fasting from a favorite food or beverage (64%).
Overall, 1 in 4 Americans observes Lent (24%), according to LifeWay. Most American observers fast from a favorite food or beverage (57%) vs. a bad habit (35%) or a favorite activity (23%).
Hispanics were the most likely ethnic group to observe Lent (36%), and were more likely than whites to abstain from a favorite activity (34% vs. 17%) or a bad habit (50% vs. 30%).
Smith made a word cloud of the top 100 results of 2018:
Here are how the top 6 ideas have trended over time:
CT regularly reports on Lent, including three views on why bother celebrating Lent, the best books to read for Lent, Lent in Narnia, and the argument for lengthening Lent. CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli offered his thoughts on “giving up self discipline” for Lent.
Below is Smith’s running tally of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2019. (This list will eventually cover all tweets from March 3–9 that mention giving up something for Lent and, except as noted, excludes retweets.)
Top 100 Things Twitter Gave Up for Lent (based on 12,725 tweets)
|Rank||What||Number of Tweets|
|17.||giving up things||89|
|78.||single use plastic||17|
|83.||my will to live||16|
|89.||chick fil a||14|
|Rank||Category||Number of Tweets|