Ash Wednesday

Rudi Bowe

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in Christian Churches and is marked by service of penitence and 40 days before Easter Sunday.

Tomorrow, 6 March is Ash Wednesday the start of a period of self-restraint and abstention for Christians prior to Easter. It marks the first day of fasting, repentance, prayer and self-control and is a Christian holy day of prayer, fasting, and repentance and six weeks of penitence before Easter.
The day is observed by many Christians that includes Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and some Baptists. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the fore-heads of participants to either the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.
Because it is the first day of Lent, many Christians, often begin marking a Lenten calendar, praying a Lenten daily devotional, and abstaining from a luxury that they will not partake in until Easter Sunday arrives.
Lent begins tomorrow and it’s a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
According to the Catholic law of abstinence, Catholics aged 14 and older must refrain from meat on Fri-days altogether during this 40-day period, as well as Ash Wednesday and are encouraged to attend Mass.
In Christian churches, the first day of Lent, occurring 6 1/2 weeks before Easter (between February 4 and March 11, depending on the date of Easter) and there are two factors that determine the date of Ash Wednesday which can occur as early as March 22 and as late as April 25.
Roman Catholic churches use this service to prepare church members to better appreciate the death and resurrection of Christ through self-examination, repentance, pray-er, fasting, and self-denial.
Ashes from the burned palms of the preceding year’s Palm Sunday are blessed and with these ashes, the priest marks a cross on the foreheads of worshipers. Besides showing sorrow for their sins, those who honor Ash Wednesday add an additional meaning; the need to prepare for a holy death.
The important fact to remember is that Christians should be ready and willing to repent, fast, and focus on God throughout the year and not just during the Lenten season.

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