Ash Wednesday 2022: Date, history, significance of the first day of Lent


Ash Wednesday 2022: Christians all over the world are celebrating Ash Wednesday today. The first day of Lent, a 40-day period of preparation and fasting before Easter, Ash Wednesday is being observed on March 2, 2022 this year. Unlike Christmas, Ash Wednesday and Easter, do not fall on a fixed date. Traditionally Lent begins on the Monday of the seventh week before Easter and ends on the Friday that is nine days before Easter, according to Britannica.com.

During this period, many people give up something as they fast like their favourite food item, or watching television and some even go off social media.

Believers in Christ around the world observe these days as special days of prayers, acts of charity, and mortifications. On Ash Wednesday, priests apply ash on the forehead of each person coming to the Church, saying – ‘Thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return’, reminding people that while observing the precepts of this season, they must focus on the spirit of the season rather than external performance and appearances.

During Lent, the faithful are also called on to practice more good deeds, such as alms giving, and to be particularly close to the needy and the suffering. During Lent, Catholics are called on to give up something, such as sweets.

History

Ash Wednesday apparently started in ancient Rome when sinners wore sack clothes and cover themselves with ash as public penance.

Easter concludes the 40 days period of fasting – Lent. Holy Thursday – celebration of Jesus’s last supper and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday is a part of the Holy Week which ends on Easter Sunday.


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