Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian Lenten season leading up to Easter. It is the day following Mardi Gras. Christians all throughout the world spend a time of reflection, prayer, and penance during this season.
Why are ashes worn on Ash Wednesday?
On Ash Wednesday, some churches draw an ash cross on the foreheads of attendees. Two biblical ideas are represented by the ashes.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” the priest says as ashes are placed on a worshipper’s forehead.
The palm branches from the Palm Sunday ceremony the year before are used to make the ashes. Ashen symbols such as sackcloth and ashes stand for penance. A penitent was expected to sit in ashes and wear cumbersome sackcloth.
What is Lent?
Lent commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert wandering and fasting after receiving his baptism.
It is a time for introspection, prayer, and fasting. For Lent, some Christians give something up. Also, some people don’t consume meat on Fridays. Lent lasts 46 days even though Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. Sundays are not “mandated days” of fasting and abstinence during Lent, hence they are not taken into consideration. Holy Thursday, which is April 6, when a Mass is held in remembrance of Jesus’ Last Supper, marks the conclusion of Lent. Jesus was crucified on Good Friday (7 April), and on Easter he rose from the grave (April 9).
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What to give up for Lent
You can give up other things for Lent besides meat. Many people give up their favourite foods, such as chocolate, sweets, and alcohol.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s publication, The Catholic Telegraph, offers tips on how families can get involved by forgoing sugary drinks or eating out.
When is Easter?
Easter Sunday, which will be celebrated on April 9, 2023, is the culmination of Lent. Every year, the date varies and falls on the first Sunday of the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon following the vernal equinox.
Easter is celebrated on the following Sunday, April 16, since the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar rather than the more common Gregorian one.