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History, Details Of Ash Wednesday Today As Catholics, Others, Start Lenting Season

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Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent in the Western church and takes place 46 days before Easter. Just as the date of Easter is measured on the cycles of the moon, similarly, the date of Ash Wednesday varies from year to year.

The quickest possible time for Ash Wednesday ranges from 4th February to March 10. For the year 2022, it falls on March 2nd.

Ash Wednesday is a consistent norm with the Roman Catholic Church however, some Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans also observe this day.

It takes place immediately after the excesses of the two days of Carnival that take place in Northern Europe and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin Roman Catholic churches use this service to prepare church members to better appreciate the death and resurrection of Christ through self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting, and self-denial.

These ashes are burned from palms of the preceding year’s Palm Sunday which have been blessed.

The priest uses these ashes to mark the sign of the cross on the foreheads of worshipers, with the words, “Remember, man, that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

Asides from the obvious mood for Catholics/ the Catholic church which is showing sorrow for their sins, those who honor Ash Wednesday also prepare themselves for a holy death. 

Although ash Wednesday has a non-Christian origin, it was accepted into the beliefs of the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The council also settled upon the 40-days period of fasting as the standard length to commemorate the Lenten period.

 During this time period, the goal of Constantine was to combine pagans and Christians into a peaceable unit within the Roman kingdom.

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