February 22, 2012 by staff
Lenten Season, Take off your Mardi Gras beads. Eat your last paczki. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a solemn time for Christians for 40 days before Easter.
Most commonly observed by Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians and Lutherans, Ash Wednesday falls on the seventh Wednesday before Easter. During Lent Christians are enouraged to fast, pray, give alms and seek repentance for their sins. Some Christians abstain from a normal part of their daily routine during Lent to remind them of the sacrifice of Christ. Some might refrain from eating certain favorite foods or from fun activities.
The solemn proceedings that occur on Ash Wednesday bring the focus back to the sacrifice of Christ and the mission of the Church, according to faithclipart.com. The observance most likely comes from the biblical Day of Atonement. In Leviticus 16, the Lord establishes an annual day of repentance for the Israelites as a lasting ordinance for all their generations.
On this day, Christians come before a priest or minister to receive the sign of the cross, marked in ashes on their foreheads, as a way to remember: Ashes to ashes. Catholic priests make the sign of the cross, saying the words: “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”
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