Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today March 9, 2011 is the first day of Lent. If today is the start of the lent season means that today is Ash Wednesday.

What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday as said above is the first day of the lent season. The term Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of putting ashes in the forehead to every Christian.

What symbolizes the placing of ashes in the forehead?
Putting ashes in the forehead during Ash Wednesday is a sign of mourning and repentance to God.

Where the ashes did came from?
The ashes used are the burned remains of the gathered used palms or palm crosses from previous Palm Sunday mixed with Holy Water.

When is Ash Wednesday celebrated?
Ash Wednesday does not have a fixed date. It is movable depending on when Easter will be celebrated. It can occur as early as February 4 or 5 if leap year or as late as March 10, and in the case for this year 2011 is March 9.

How is the putting of the ashes being done?
The ritual of the Ash Wednesday is done during the celebration of the Holy Mass. During the mass or service of worship on this day, ashes are imposed on foreheads of the faithful Christians. The priest or the layperson marks the forehead of each participant with a black ash in a shape of a cross.

What are the words being said during the ritual?
Upon placing the cross shape ash in the forehead the priest or layperson will say either of the following:

 Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return
Genesis: 3:19

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel
Mark 1:15

Repent, and hear the good news
Mark 1:15

Is the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday a sacrament?
Absolutely not, the imposition of ashes is not a sacrament but is sacramental meaning an action being blessed.

What is the biblical significance of Ash Wednesday?
Ashes during ancient times according to the bible are used to express mourn.  Rubbing the ash to oneself is a penitent’s way to express sorrow for sins.

Ash Wednesday Trivia
  • In the Republic of Ireland, Ash Wednesday is a National No Smoking Day. This is so because quitting smoking ties with giving up luxury for lent.

  • The first No Smoking Day in the United Kingdom was held on the Ash Wednesday of the year 1984, but now has a fixed date of second Wednesday of March.

  • Eastern Orthodox Church does not Observe Ash Wednesday to start the lent season. Instead they celebrate Clean Monday.

No comments: