Have you ever wondered why Christians and Catholics have a small cross of ash on their foreheads on this day? It's a tradition linked to Ash Wednesday, which also signifies the commencement of Lent, a 40-day period of reflection and penance leading up to Easter Sunday, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ash Wednesday is a sacred day of prayer, fasting, and repentance, marking the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a period of six weeks before Easter when Catholics and Christians worldwide repent and reflect on their actions. Here's an insight into this date, marked by ash crosses and fasting. Lent 2024 Start Date in Calendar: When Is Ash Wednesday? Know the History and Significance of Lent Season, the 40-Day Christian Fasting Period.

Ash Wednesday 2024 Date

Ash Wednesday 2024 will be observed on February 14.

History of Ash Wednesday

Lent originated in 325 CE as a period of preparation for baptisms. This time is viewed by Christians as a test of Jesus’ spirituality and resistance to temptation. Its 40-day duration honours Jesus Christ's fast in the wilderness before beginning his ministry. Today, Lent serves as a time for repentance and reflection. Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, symbolising Jesus Christ's fast and self-discipline in the desert. The ash cross applied to believers' foreheads represents mortality and penance. A priest usually applies the ash to the forehead during the mass, often accompanied by the reminder, 'remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.' Many choose to leave the ash cross on throughout the day. Lent: What Are the Stations of the Cross? Know The Story Behind the Devotional Exercise of Praying in Front of the 14 Stations During The Lenten Season.

Significance of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday originates from ancient Christian practices in Rome. Penitents and sinners had to show they were sorry by wearing ashes and rough cloth until they were forgiven on Maundy Thursday. Today, the ashes used are from burnt palm leaves from Palm Sunday, recalling when Jesus came into Jerusalem, and people waved palm branches to welcome him before his crucifixion and resurrection, which is celebrated on Easter Sunday.

In essence, Ash Wednesday starts a time for self-reflection. This is marked by the ash cross, guiding Christians through Lent toward Easter.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 13, 2024 04:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).