The Great Lent is observed as a preparation for our Lord's death on the cross and His resurrection.
Great Lent lasts all of 48 days, it sarts with vespers (ie evening prayer or ramsho in Syriac) on Kothine Sunday or Pethrutha and concludes with the Holy Qurbana on Qymto Sunday (Ressuruction Sunday).
Great Lent combines both fasting (Malayalam: upavaasam) and dietary restrictions (Malayalam: nombu). Dietary restrictions, as understood here, refers to avoiding fish, meat, wine, eggs and dairy products. According to the Hudoyo Canon fasting during the Great Lent is up to the ninth hour (approximately 3 p.m.) on week days, and till noon (12 p.m.) on Saturdays and Sundays. Nursing mothers, the sick and the infirm have been exempted from these requirements.
The beginning of Great Lent is signaled by the Shubhkono service on the first Monday of the Great Lent. This is a service of preparation and forgiveness and is marked by forty prostrations and the kiss of peace.
Each Sunday of the Great Lent is arranged to reflect on one of the miracles performed by Our Lord. On the first Sunday of Lent the miracle at the Wedding of Cana is remembered. On successive Sundays starting from the Second Sunay of Lent, the healing of the leper, the paralytic, the Cananite woman, the crippled woman, and the blind man are remembered and reflected upon.
Passion Week or Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday. Passover falls on the Thursday of the Passion Week and Good Friday follows the next day.
Services without Holy Qurbana during the Great Lent are Shubhkono (First Monday of Lent) and Vaade Dalmeeno (Monday after Plam Sunday). Both are conducted by the celebrant from the chancel table.
Other days of note during the Great Lent are Saturday of Lazarus (Saturday prior to Psalm Sunday) and Saturday of Good Tidings (Saturday after Good Friday).
Canonical prayers are said thrice a day (vespers, noon and matins) during the Great Lent. Great Lent prayers are marked by prostrations. This is done by kneeling down, touching the ground with the forehead, then standing up and making the sign of the cross. Prostrations are not done on days when the Holy Qurbana is celebrated. Noon prayers during the week days of the Great Lent are marked by forty prostrations. This is done in four sets of 10 prostrations. The first set is done to the accompanying chant of `Kurielaison'. The second set is done to the accompanying chant of `Lord have mercy upon us'. The third set is done to the accompanying chant of `Lord be kind and have mercy upon us'. And the fourth and final set is done to the accompanying chant of`Lord accept our entreaties, and have mercy upon us'. (Video of prostrations from the Lenten prayer at Mor Aphrem Syriac Orthodox Monastery)
3. Hymn by Mor Jacob of Serugh sung during the vespers (evening prayers) of Great Lent (Lyrics in the attachment section)
Articles and Encyclicals about the Great Lent and Fasting