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Ash Wednesday

From Academic Kids

In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. (Eastern Christianity starts Great Lent on Clean Monday, which, due to differences in the calculation of Easter and the length of Great Lent, is often later in the year.)

It occurs forty days before Easter not counting Sundays (which are not included in Lent); it occurs forty-four days before Good Friday counting Sundays. Its placement varies each year, according to the date of Easter. The date can vary from early February to as late as the second week in March.

Ash Wednesday falls on the following dates in the following years:

Some Christians treat Ash Wednesday as a day for remembering one's mortality. Masses are traditionally held on this day at which attendees are blessed with ashes by the priest ministering the ceremony. The minister marks the forehead of each celebrant with black ashes, traditionally in the shape of a cross, leaving a mark that the worshipper traditionally leaves on his or her forehead until sundown, before washing it off. This symbolism recalls the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one's head signifying repentance before God (as related numerous times in the Bible). The minister says "Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Often these Ash Wednesday ashes are made by burning Palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations and mixing them with olive oil as a fixative. In Roman Catholicism Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence, and the ashes are considered a sacramental. The penitential psalms are read.

As the first day of Lent, it comes the day after Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the last day of the Carnival season.

In certain parts of the United Kingdom, Ash Wednesday similarly involves the ritual consumption of the food hash.

In New Orleans, Louisiana it is sometimes jokingly referred to as "Trash Wednesday" due to the large amount of refuse typically left in the streets by the previous day's Fat Tuesday celebrations.


In Australia, the Ash Wednesday (bushfires) occurred on February 16, 1983 across Victoria and South Australia. 75 lives were lost and over 2500 homes destroyed. See [1] (http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/sig_fires/about_ash_wednesday.html).


Ash Wednesday is also the title of a poem by T. S. Eliot.

External links

cs:Popeleční středa de:Aschermittwoch als:Aschermittwoch eo:Cindra Merkredo fr:Mercredi des Cendres ga:Cadaoin an Luathraigh id:Rabu Abu lt:Pelenų diena nl:Aswoensdag ja:灰の水曜日 no:Askeonsdag pl:Popielec

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