What is it and what does it mean for Christians

On this February 14, 2024, Wednesday, we celebrate many things: Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day, the burial of sardines and ash Wednesday, Focusing on this last celebration, which is religious in nature, we tell you what Ash Wednesday consists of, where it comes from and what it means for Christians.

Once Carnival has passed, there comes a time of reflection and preparation for Holy Week, that is, Lent. That is why today we celebrate Ash Wednesday, although this year it fell on February 14, it does not have the same date every year, as it may Range between February 4 and March 10,

Ash Wednesday is the day that marks beginning of lentThat is, the 40 days before (except Sundays) the day we remember that Christ was resurrected or, in other words, the days in which we prepare for Holy Week.

What is the origin of Ash Wednesday?

To know where Ash Wednesday comes from we must know go back to the second century, a time when Christians begin preparations for Easter by fasting and penance for two days. As time went on, this type of activity ended up covering the entire Holy Week and finally in the year 325, with the Council of Nicaea, it was decided to establish 40 days Time to prepare for Easter.

This figure has great significance for Christians, because the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, just like the 40 years the people of Israel traveled in the desert, coincides with the days Moses spent on Mount Sinai. And Elijah fasted at Horeb. ,

As the Vatican has indicated, Lent originally began six Sundays before Easter or Resurrection Sunday, but, since Sundays were not fasted, it was decided to separate it from the 5th century. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday of the Easter Triduum and are also counted as Lent. It was then moved forward four days, beginning the current measurement for determining when Ash Wednesday is.

Meaning and implications for Christians

Taking into account that Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season and that, in turn, represents preparation to remember the days in which the Lord died and rose again, it begins on February 14. Is Fasting, abstinence and penance.

Although these are not strict rules, since every Christian considers how they should live this time, the most common is to observe Ash Wednesday. Some meals of the day are skipped and we are deprived of eating meatIt is mandatory for people between 18 and 59 years of age, as long as health permits. It is also common for these types of activities to be repeated every Friday of Lent.

With regard to repentance, in ancient times Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of a time of repentance and public self-punishment for those who had committed serious crimes such as murder or adultery. today it works reflection And, in this, anyone who considers it can make small sacrifices throughout the day, such as depriving themselves of eating something they like or stopping doing an activity for pleasure.

moment of applying ashes on ash wednesday

Raoul Bent

Why is ash used?

Applying ashes is another important element of this Ash Wednesday (hence its name). it It is placed in the shape of a cross on the forehead of the devotees. Those who go to mass say that the ashes come from what is left after burning the blessed palms of Palm Sunday the previous year.

When the priest applies the ashes he may say different words, such as “Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Be converted and believe in the gospel.” it shows transience of worldly life And we humans cling to divine grace.

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