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What is Ash Wednesday and Why Is It Celebrated?

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent every year.

You might have come across the word Ash Wednesday and it would have made you wonder just what is it and what is so special about it.

Or maybe you heard someone saying that they will be celebrating Ash Wednesday and it would have made you wonder just what exactly are they celebrating?

Well, today we will be talking about Ash Wednesday and everything you need to know about it:

Ash Wednesday: Meaning

Ash Wednesday is a celebration involving prayer and fasting. It is a holy day for Christians, not a holiday. Every year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent festival which spans for a period of six weeks.

Ash Wednesday is derived from the ritual sort of thing involving placing ashes on the person’s forehead. These ashes are derived from burning palm leaves that were used in the Palm Sunday celebration in the previous year.

What is Lent?

Lent is a festival and one of the most important times of the year for Christians all over the world. Its beginning is started with celebrating Ash Wednesday and the celebrations continue for about 6 weeks.

The festival majorly involves devoted fasting and penitence. This year, Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on 2nd March and continues onto April 16, a day before Easter.

The festival’s major celebration is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Every year it is celebrated for 40 days continuously, while not including the six Sundays.

People celebrating Lent reminisce about the time spent by Jesus Christ in the wild where he prayed and fasted all while resisting the temptations of Satan. The people celebrating the festival also follow the same practices which involve bringing about change in self and a change of one’s heart.

What Happens on Ash Wednesday?

The Lent festival is celebrated according to the liturgical calendar so the dates change every year. On Ash Wednesday, Christian people go to church and perform special services.

The priest of the church shares a sermon that revolves around confession as the main aim and is reflective in nature. Then as the sermon ends, the priest dips his finger in the ash and applies it on the person’s forehead while saying “From dust, you came and to dust you shall return”.

The ash is believed to represent mortality and sinfulness in Christianity and many other religions as well. Christians have continued to use ashes as a practice of an external sign of repentance.

Most followers of Christ observe Lent as a time of prayer, doing acts of charity, and mortifications.

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