Lent marks a 40-day period on the church calendar leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, Christians have traditionally engaged in practices of self-denial, like fasting, meant to orient their hearts and minds to the sufferings of Christ, who spent 40 days in the desert fasting and enduring temptations from Satan. While many evangelicals reject Lenten disciplines for their associations with Catholicism, in recent years a greater number have experimented with practices like giving up a favorite indulgence or abstaining from meat on Fridays.
October 24, 1260: France's Chartres Cathedral, the purest example of Gothic architecture, is consecrated.
October 24, 1648: The Peace of Westphalia ends central Europe's Thirty Years War. Extending equal political rights to Catholics and Protestants (including religious minorities), the peace treaties also marked the first use of the term "secularization" (in discussing some church property that was to be distributed among the warring parties).