On this day 22 Feb 1091, this custom was then ordered by Pope Urban II at the council of Benevento to be extended to the church in Rome.
Not long after that, the name of the day was referred to in the liturgical books as “Feria Quarta Cinerum” (i.e., Ash Wednesday).”
Apart from Christmas and Easter, Ash Wednesday is one of the most attended Masses of the year for the Catholic Church.
The ashes symbolize both death and repentance. During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins, because they believe Christ died for them. When the priest applies the cross of ashes, he says to the worshiper: ““Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday consists of abstaining from meat, going to Mass, and adorning your forehead with ashes. But why do some sects of Christianity celebrate Ash Wednesday? Furthermore, how did Ash Wednesday come about?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Ash Wednesday, its meaning, and its history.
History of Ash Wednesday
Christian churches celebrate Ash Wednesday, also known as the “Day of Ashes,” on the first day of Lent. Lent falls between the dates of Feb. 4 and March 11, depending on the date of Easter Sunday.
“Day of Ashes” derives from the Roman Missal, “Dies Cinerum,” and appears in copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary from early centuries. It’s commonly believed that the concept originated with the Roman Catholics in the sixth century.
Ash Wednesday is exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday, a moveable feast based on the cycles of the moon. The earliest date Ash Wednesday can occur is 4 February (which is only possible during a common year with Easter on 22 March).
water during holy communion in the Catholic Church.
Although Ash Wednesday is a fasting day, many Christians don’t abstain from food entirely. As an alternative, observers eat one full meal plus two smaller meals that, when combined, don’t equate to a normal meal. Like Good Friday during Lent, Christians refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday.
Additionally, you don’t need to be a leader of a church to administer the distribution of ashes to people. It’s common for churches to provide parishioners with ash packets that they can apply to the foreheads of loved ones who were unable to attend Ash Wednesday mass.
This is especially helpful during a pandemic when it’s harder for people to attend Sunday mass during the holy week.
Ash Wednesday 2023: Here’s all you need to know about Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent (a 40-day period of preparation and fasting before Easter). This year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 22.
Source: Hindustan Times, Pray.com