Why 40? The Importance of 40-day Traditions

Forty days is a period of time that allows for transformation (repair, renewal, regeneration and rebirth).  In sacred readings from ancient traditions, 40 days is shown as a precursor for creating favorable environments for change and the deep preparation of the heart.  Through purging the old, we are able to receive a new set of instructions and preparation for a new phase in life.  

 

  • In Judaism, there’s a mystical practice that says one who seeks an answer to their prayers should pray the same prayer request for 40 consecutive days. 

 

  • In the Christian tradition, Lent is a 40 day season of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer, through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during the Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

 

  • The Bible is filled with passages that mention the number 40 as a benchmark of deep transformation. The 40 days of the flood, the forty days that Moses and Elijah spent on the mountains, the 40 years of pilgrimage from the Israelites in the desert, and the forty days Jesus spent on prayers and fasting before he started his public mission.

 

  • Muhammad prayed and fasted in the cave for 40 days.

 

  • In Kundalini Yoga you practice for 40 consecutive days to make or break habits, affect one’s consciousness, develop intuition, increase self-knowledge, and unleash the unlimited creative potential that exists within every human being.

 

  • In the Hindu tradition, the word Chalisa means "forty-verse" prayer

 

  • The idea behind 108 mantra repetitions x 40 daysis that whatever you choose, it will be ingrained into the mala beads, your body, your mind, and your soul. The mantra and the mala beads symbolize a lifelong affirmation.

 

  • In traditional alchemy, 40 days is a recommended period of purification, purging and refinement of the senses preceding any transmutation work.

 

  • With psychology, researchers have found that personality can be changed through consistent exercises over a period of 40 days.

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