Ash Wednesday 2018 — February 14

Takes place 46 days before Easter.

Observed 46 days before Easter, Ash Wednesday is considered to be the beginning of Lent in Christianity. Oftentimes, during this period, different groups of Christians cease to use certain comforts or make a similar resolution to give something up or do something special for the period of Lent. This year Ash Wednesday falls on February 14. It is thought to be a day in which observant Christians show penance.

Ash Wednesday - History

1500s
Martin Luther Argues Against Fasting

The protestant reformer threw out fasting during Lent because he believed it wasn't Biblically based.

325 AD
Lent Lasts 40 days

Decided by the Council of Nicea, Lent becomes a fixed amount of days.

c.130-c.200
St. Iraneus Writes about Lent

The Roman bishop mentions a Lenten period during the early church that was much shorter than 40 days.

How to Observe Ash Wednesday

1. Fast for the day 
Many Christians observe Ash Wednesday by fasting from bread and water. Often they think it helps give them a sense of perspective, so that they can better ruminate on life. 

2. Receive ashes on your forehead
On Ash Wednesday you may see some people with ashes on their forehead in the shape of the cross. Leaders of the church place ash on the forehead of the congregants. The ashes symbolize penance.

3. Reflect in your own way 
Choose however you feel is right to observe the holiday. Religion is a personal experience. Reflection can be too.

Why Ash Wednesday is Important

A. Time to think 
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. During Lent many people give up certain luxuries. Living without these luxuries gives people the opportunity to reflect on what they consider really important in life. 

B. Brings the family together 
Those who go to church sometimes attend with their loved ones. Ash Wednesday pushes family to spend time with each other

C. Don't have to worry about a date
This year Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day. Forget the holiday that Hallmark made to hurt single people everywhere. This year forgo the overpriced dinners. This year don't pick up flowers. This year don't feel guilty watching Nora Ephron movies by yourself.

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