Ash Wednesday is a religious Catholic holiday. The date of the celebration is floating. The holiday is usually celebrated 46 calendar days before Easter. It is considered the beginning of Lent.
The idea of Ash Wednesday is to repent of one’s sins and transgressions over the past year or a lifetime. The holiday has been around for more than 2,000 years. One of the most striking traditions of this day is the sprinkling of ashes on the head. It is thought to have been invented by Gregory I the Great (who lived from about A.D. 535 to 605). He added to the festivities by saying that each of us came out of the ashes and will return there after death.
On this day believers sprinkle ashes on their heads or draw a cross on their foreheads. It is customary to use palm ashes for this purpose. Such a tradition means depriving oneself of comforts in order to atone for sins and, if I may say so, to be spiritually reborn.
- When celebrating Ash Wednesday, it is customary to reduce one’s daily food intake. It is recommended that you eat one small meal and two more small snacks over the course of 24 hours.
- Believers must walk with the ashes of the cross on their foreheads for a whole day after applying them.
- The Ash Wednesday celebration is the boundary that separates large-scale festivities from strict fasting.
How to celebrate
Follow the established traditions at Ash Wednesday. Avoid fatty foods and sweets, and give up alcohol. Reduce the amount of food you eat in preparation for a strict fast. Smear ashes on your head or put a cross on your forehead.
Spread the word on social media. Ask other users if they adhere to the traditions of this religious holiday.
When is Ash Wednesday celebrated in 2024?
Ash Wednesday is observed on the Wednesday six weeks before Easter Sunday.