Day of Ashes or Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the Lent Period

Day of Ashes or Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the Lent Period

 

Day of Ashes or as it is popularly known, Ash Wednesday is the first day marking the beginning of the Lent season. The Day of Ashes will always fall on a Wednesday.

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During this day, believers have their foreheads rubbed with ashes in the sign of the cross by a priest. The ashes symbolize the dust from which human kind was created by God.

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Palm leaves from the previous Palm Sunday (preceding year) are burnt and the ashes obtained are mixed with Holy water or Holy oil before the ashes are used.

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The Lent period lasts 40 days excluding Sundays when there is no fasting done. It’s also the six week period preceding Easter Sunday and is recognized by most Christian denominations.

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Despite it being recognized and celebrated by Christians, the Day of Ashes can trace its roots back to the ancient Jewish practice of fasting to signal repentance, penance and a decision to turn away from sins and transgressions before God.

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The lent period is a season of fasting, prayer, giving, reflection on transgressions, repentance, self-denial and letting go of sinful activities, certain foods, luxuries and behaviors which are all intended to help believers develop a spirit and character of charity, humility, discipline, and sacrifice.

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The lent period ends on Holy Thursday during the Holy week( the week before Easter Sunday) and marks the Last Supper that Jesus Christ had with his disciplines before his crucifixion and death on good Friday.

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During the Ash Wednesday ceremony, a priest will say these words to believers as he rubs their foreheads with ash, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” which is derived from this Bible verse in Genesis.

 

“By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are

and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:19

 

Please check out Lent cards and posters designed by our team.


Also published on Medium.