Ash Wednesday

The Ash Wednesday is the holy day of fasting and praying in lots of Western Christian denominations. Many Christians are attending a special church service in which churchgoers are taking ashes on their foreheads. The Ash Wednesday has taken its name from a practice that is accompanied by the words of “Repent and believed in the Gospel” and with the dictum of “Remember that you’re a dust, and to a dust you will return.” The ashes are being prepared by the burning palm leaves of the previous year of Palm Sunday celebrations. Ash Wednesday is being observed by many denominations within the Western Christianity.

Fasting and abstinence

Numerous Lent-observing denominations emphasized the making of the Lenten sacrifice, and also fasting and self-discipline or abstinence during this season of Lent, mainly the Ash Wednesday. Lent is the time of fasting for 40 days in advance for the coming Easter, although it’s unclear whether the arranged fasting is applied to every Christian or specifically to the new Christians who are preparing to be Christen or baptized. Whatever the original intent here, this 40-day fasting came into wider practice all throughout the church.

Whereas starting the Lenten sacrifice for the Ash Wednesday (like not watching TV), it’s customary to pray for the strength to keep this b the entire Lent season; lots have often wished others to do so. In numerous places, Christians historically refrained from food for the entire day until dinner, and during sunset and the Western Christians traditionally cut the Lenten fast that is usually called as “Black Fast.” The Christian Pakistan and India keep on this fasting practice until sundown on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday, and with some fasting of this manner all throughout the entire Lent season. After attending the worship service (usually on Wednesday nights), it is very for the Christians of different denominations to celebrate Lent to cut the Lenten fast days together by the communal Lenten supper, that has been held in the parish hall of the church.

In the Church of Roman Catholic, Ash Wednesday is being observed by repentance, abstinence from meat, fasting (starts at 14 year old base on the canon law 1252. During the Ash Wednesday and the Good Friday, the Roman Catholics from 18 to 59 years old (healthy for fasting) are allowed to consume one entire meal, along with the 2 smaller meals, that together must not be equal the entire meal. Some Catholics can go beyond the limit obligations place in the Catholic Church and undertake the entire fast or the water and bread fasting until sundown. The Ash Wednesday and the Good Friday are the days of abstinence to eat meat, as are all the Fridays during Lent. Some of the Roman Catholics keep on fasting throughout the Lent, as was this is the traditional requirement of the Church, concluding only right after the remembrance of the Easter Vigil.

When the Ash Wednesday take place

Lent is a 40 day long observance, not including the Sundays; the base of the calendar which means that the season is forty six days longer overall. The Lent starts on Ash Wednesday that will end on Holy Saturday or at the beginning of the Easter Triduum during the night of Maundy Thursday. Ash Wednesday has always been a 46 day observance before Easter, and then Easter is resolute as the Sunday next to the primary full moon that takes place on or right after the moth March equinox.


The priest marked the cross of ashes over the forehead of the worshippers, the prevailing shape in the English-speaking nations.

Ashes are ritually placed over the foreheads of the Christians during Ash Wednesday, either through being sprinkled on their heads, more often through being marked on the foreheads as the visible cross. These words (Genesis 3:19) have been used traditionally to complement a gesture, although this might be incorrect since the Ash Wednesday wasn’t part of the Lent season in his time.

Biblical importance of ashes

Ashes had been used during the ancient times to squeeze out the grief. During the time that Tamar was raped by her half-sibling, “she sprinkled the ashes over her head, tore the robe, and of her face buried her hands went crying” in (2Samuel 13:19). This gesture had been applied to express the sorrow for our faults and sins. Ashes could be the symbol of our old sinful self that is dying and going back to dust.

Christian application of ashes

Christians keep on with the practice of applying ashes as the outside sign of repentance. It has been said that the confession of sin must be accompanied by the lying in ashes and sackcloth. The historian Eusebius recounted how the repentant apostate had covered himself with the ashes when begging to Pope Zephyrinus to admit him again to communion.

John Fenton wrote that “by the final time of the 10th century, it’s customary in the Western Europe to all of the faithful to take ashes during the Lenten fast first day. In 1091, this tradition was ordered by the former Pope Urban II of Benevento at the council to be extensive to the Rome church. Not long after, the day’s name was referred in the liturgical book as the “Feria Quarta Cinerum” (like Ash Wednesday).”

The community penances that grave the sinners underwent just before being admitted into the Holy Communion and before Easter lasted all throughout Lent, during the primary day they had been dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled with ashes. Towards the ending of the first ever millennium, the public penance discipline was dropped, the start of Lent, seen being the general penitential season, has been marked by sprinkling the ashes over the heads of everyone. This practice is discovered in Gregorian Sacramentary during the eighth century. About 2 centuries after, Ælfric of Eynsham, the Anglo-Saxon abbot, mark the rite of the strewing ashes over the heads at the beginning of Lent.

During the Ambrosian Rite, the ashes are being blessed and placed over the foreheads of those faithful, but not during the day that everyone is calling as Ash Wednesday, but during the final ceremony of the Mass on its following Sunday, that in that rites inaugurated Lent, with traditionally fasting starting on Monday, the primary weekday of Ambrosian Lent.


Ash Wednesday with some other named days ranges around the Lent and Easter season in the Western Christianity, and with fasting days of the Lent numbered.

The Ash Wednesday is precisely 46 days before the Easter Sunday, a transferable feast based on its moon cycle. The earliest date of Ash Wednesday will happen in 4th of February that happened in 1598, 1693, 1761, 1818 and the next will happen in 2285.

From the prologue of Gregorian calendar during 1582, the Ash Wednesday had never taken place during Leap Year Day or 29 February, however for the initial time in 2096, it will happen.

The Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the 40-day period that is the allusion to the partition of Jesus in the desert in prayer and fasting. This 40-day period to pray and fast is analogous also to the forty days where Moses fasted and repented in response to the making of the Golden calf.

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