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3 Must-Know Facts About Ash Wednesday

Updated on Feb 10, 2016 1209 views
3 Must-Know Facts About Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent.  This year it will occur on February 10, 2016. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a 6-week period dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a 6-week period dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter.

Here are three “must-know” facts:

1. Ash Wednesday starts the Lenten season.

It marks the first day of the 40 days of Lent, a roughly 6-week period (not including Sundays) dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter.

2. Believers receive ashes on their foreheads.

The ashes come from palms that were burned from the previous Palm Sunday—the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where people waved palm branches to celebrate his arrival. The ashes are typically mixed with holy water or oil.

The ashes serve as a reminder of humans’ sinfulness and need for penance. The person, distributing the ashes says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” There is no rule about how long the ashes should be worn, but many people wear them throughout the day as a public expression of their faith. For Catholics, Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation.

3. Believers abstain and fast.

Catholics abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. Here are some meatless recipes for this Lenten season. Catholics ages 18 to 59 also fast on Ash Wednesday. Fasting entails eating one regular-size meal and two small meals.  

We wish you an awesome Lenten Season from all of us at MyJobMag

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