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Holiday Almanac: Ash Wednesday starts Lenten prayer and fasting

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Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Tiongson, a chaplain on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, blesses a sailor during an Ash Wednesday service in the ship’s chapel. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin T. Liston/Released)

Christians in several traditions will observe today as Ash Wednesday, the start of six weeks of Lent. The season is a period of solemnity before Good Friday, the traditional observance of Jesus’ death, which will fall on April 3 this year.

Ash Wednesday takes its name from ashes daubed on the faithful as a sign of penitence, with the traditional words, “Remember you are dust and will return to dust.”

Lent is a somber season marked by prayer, introspection and repentance. For Catholics, it also includes fasting and abstinence from meat on Fridays for those 14 years and older.

Eastern Orthodox Christians, who still use the ancient Julian calendar, begin Lent on Feb. 23 this year. However, they will join Protestants and Roman Catholics in celebrating Easter on April 12.

— James D. Davis



Written by Jim Davis

February 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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