Find out more about the ash wednsday, get the facts and traditions and listen to the special ash wednsday hymn.
Christians have lots of interesting and important traditions and customs. Do you really know all of them? And what is about Ash Wednesday 2016? What is its meaning, rules, and facts? Let’s find them out together.
Ash Wednesday meaning
It is widely known as day of fasting. It's also the first day of Lent according to the tradition of Western Christianity. It usually happens before about 46 days before the Easter takes place. It is vital to understand, this is one of essential holidays (the same as, for example, Christmas). It has been celebrated for about 10 centuries by all Christians. It serves as preparation for upcoming Easter.
So, let’s consider the name of such a holy day. In the past, those Christians, who had been stuck in persistent sin, had ashes sprinkled on their bodies. It was sign of repentance. However, by the 10th century, all the religious people started to think they needed such repentance. That’s why all of them began to mark their foreheads with ashes (with the sign of a cross).
However, this holiday is not depressing at all. It prepares people for the celebrating of the greatest Easter day.
Ash Wednesday fasting
If you want to celebrate such holy day, it is essential to know about Ash Wednesday fasting rules. Thus, let’s observe the most common ones:
- First you need to know who must fast. It concerns all people from 18 to 60 years old. According to the rules, just one full meal might be eaten during that day. There also may be several snacks (usually in the morning, evening or a daytime).
- No meat. There is a strong rule that nobody starting from 14 years old must eat meat (we're speaking about Catholics). The same thing concerns every Friday before the Easter.
- Possible foods. You're allowed to eat, for example, chicken broth or gravies. Besides, butter or margarine are not forbidden as well. Sometimes you can even eat a sauces flavored with meat. And if there are several particles of it there, it is also all right and might be consumed.
- Moral issue. It is better to stay away from meat products. However, it isn't all. All the people must try to forgive each other, demonstrate love, care, and kindness during the Lent.
- Good things to do. Some people say you must give up doing bad things (including bad habits). Nevertheless, it is more important to do something good for others. Some community or charitable activity will be just wonderful. Read to the blind or become a volunteer.
During this day, all the Christians also attend Ash Wednesday service. There you can listen to the beautiful instrument playing and then take part in Ash Wednesday prayer. The words from the Bible will be read. It is very inspiring and people start feeling united. They can feel some holy spirit supporting them.
Ash Wednesday facts
There are several facts, which should be considered by people. It especially concerns those, who know very little about the holiday. Otherwise, you can misinterpret the meaning of a holiday. Consider the following things:
- It is not an obligation to attend the Mass. It is a wonderful idea, but it is okay if you cannot go.
- There are no instructions about how long the ashes should stay on your forehead.
- Fasting is advisable. However, there is no need to abstain from food at all.
- There is a misconception that it is necessary to avoid meat during the whole Lent. However, it isn't true. There are just several particular days, when it is advisable.
Now, when the Easter is closer, you can better interpret its meaning. There are much more interesting traditions in Christian religion. However, Ash Wednesday is one that should be known and understood by people.