This year millions of Christians around the world will attend an Ash Wednesday service on March 6 to mark the start of the 2019 Lenten season.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus is a pivotal event commemorated each year during a season of preparation called Lent and a season of celebration called Easter.
The day that begins the Lenten season is called Ash Wednesday. Here are three things to know about it.
Origin Of The Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians have ashes put on their forehead – a practice that has been going on for about a thousand years.
The term “Ash Wednesday” comes from the annual Christian practice done worldwide among the various Christian denominations – from Catholicism to Lutheranism to Presbyterians to some Baptists.
Wednesday marks the 40 days before Easter and the first day of Lent, a time for observing and honoring the work of Jesus Christ.
In the Bible, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying before he began teaching the word of God as a minister to the people. The observances of Ash Wednesday and Lent include personal sacrifices as a way of remembering Christian origins and human mortality.
Not all Christians Observe Ash Wednesday.
While Ash Wednesday is perhaps most closely associated with Catholicism, there are many Christian sects that recognize it, including Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and some Baptists.
There are also Christians that refrain from Ash Wednesday celebrations.
Mormons, Evangelicals, and Pentecostal Christians are some of the denominations that don’t take part in the holy day.
There are rules about what you can eat on Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. For many Christians, that doesn’t mean abstaining from food completely: Instead, observers of the holy day should limit themselves to one whole meal plus two smaller meals that, when added up, don’t equal a meal they would eat on a normal day. Christians marking Ash Wednesday should also avoid eating meat like they would on Fridays during Lent. (Filet-o-fish is still fine to eat, though.)
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