Tuesday, February 9, 2016

6 Things To Know About First Day of Lent: Ash Wednesday

By Maria G. Valdez
A devotee with a cross marked on her forehead takes part in the commemoration of Ash Wednesday outside a Roman Catholic church in Paranaque, Metro Manila in the Philippines.
This year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 10, 2016. It marks the start of Lent, a 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. On that day we will see many people walk around the street with a cross marked on their forehead. But, what does that really mean? Why do most Christians leave the ashes on until the end of the day? Here are 6 fast facts to explain it better. [link]
  1. Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent.
  2. The distribution of ashes comes from a devotional imitation of the practice observed in the case of public penitents. 
  3. Nowadays the ashes are a way to say that we repent of our sins. 
  4. When applying the ashes, the priest or minister says one or both of the following: “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” Genesis 3:19, and “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” Mark 1:15
  5. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. 
  6. In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance, a day of contemplating one's transgressions.