What is ash Wednesday and why do we celebrate it?

Find out more about the ash wednsday, get the facts and traditions and listen to the special ash wednsday hymn.

Christians have lots of interesting and important traditions and customs. Do you really know all of them? And what is about Ash Wednesday 2016? What is its meaning, rules, and facts? Let’s find them out together.

what is ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday meaning

It is widely known as day of fasting. It's also the first day of Lent according to the tradition of Western Christianity. It usually happens before about 46 days before the Easter takes place. It is vital to understand, this is one of essential holidays (the same as, for example, Christmas). It has been celebrated for about 10 centuries by all Christians. It serves as preparation for upcoming Easter.

ash wednsday in nigeria

So, let’s consider the name of such a holy day. In the past, those Christians, who had been stuck in persistent sin, had ashes sprinkled on their bodies. It was sign of repentance. However, by the 10th century, all the religious people started to think they needed such repentance. That’s why all of them began to mark their foreheads with ashes (with the sign of a cross).

However, this holiday is not depressing at all. It prepares people for the celebrating of the greatest Easter day.

Ash Wednesday fasting

when is ash wednsday

If you want to celebrate such holy day, it is essential to know about Ash Wednesday fasting rules. Thus, let’s observe the most common ones:

  1. First you need to know who must fast. It concerns all people from 18 to 60 years old. According to the rules, just one full meal might be eaten during that day. There also may be several snacks (usually in the morning, evening or a daytime).
  2. No meat. There is a strong rule that nobody starting from 14 years old must eat meat (we're speaking about Catholics). The same thing concerns every Friday before the Easter.
  3. Possible foods. You're allowed to eat, for example, chicken broth or gravies. Besides, butter or margarine are not forbidden as well. Sometimes you can even eat a sauces flavored with meat. And if there are several particles of it there, it is also all right and might be consumed.
  4. Moral issue. It is better to stay away from meat products. However, it isn't all. All the people must try to forgive each other, demonstrate love, care, and kindness during the Lent.
  5. Good things to do. Some people say you must give up doing bad things (including bad habits). Nevertheless, it is more important to do something good for others. Some community or charitable activity will be just wonderful. Read to the blind or become a volunteer.

During this day, all the Christians also attend Ash Wednesday service. There you can listen to the beautiful instrument playing and then take part in Ash Wednesday prayer. The words from the Bible will be read. It is very inspiring and people start feeling united. They can feel some holy spirit supporting them.

READ ALSO: How to pray the rosary in Nigeria: 5 types of rosary beads 

Ash Wednesday facts

the season of lent

There are several facts, which should be considered by people. It especially concerns those, who know very little about the holiday. Otherwise, you can misinterpret the meaning of a holiday. Consider the following things:

  • It is not an obligation to attend the Mass. It is a wonderful idea, but it is okay if you cannot go.
  • There are no instructions about how long the ashes should stay on your forehead.
  • Fasting is advisable. However, there is no need to abstain from food at all.
  • There is a misconception that it is necessary to avoid meat during the whole Lent. However, it isn't true. There are just several particular days, when it is advisable.

Now, when the Easter is closer, you can better interpret its meaning. There are much more interesting traditions in Christian religion. However, Ash Wednesday is one that should be known and understood by people.


As for me - I am glad to have a possibility to learn some information and facts about th culture and traditions of other countries and nationalities. It developes our outlook and make us to respect all the kinds of religion. I am a Christian and we have a Lent also. It is interesting to know the way the other people prepare to Lent and spend it. What they can eat and what they have to do or what they should not do. Learning such things help us to understand the other people and their beliefes much closer and much better.

Answered 1 year ago.

I am a Christian, but many facts about the ash did not know. Since malechku parents told me that every Wednesday to be followed post. But Wednesday is called Ash Wednesday, the first time I hear. For Easter we all prepare carefully. This is one of the biggest holidays that we celebrate and wait. We go fast before Easter, and all share the post before Christmas. We do not consume animal products, eggs and chicken. You just fish all days except Wednesday and Friday. The article stated that butter can be, and we prohibit something.

Answered 1 year ago.

Lent helps us to became wiser and stronger in sacred and spiritual aspects. One should take the decision of observance of fasting with responsibillity and clear mind. Fasting is called to help a person to find himself and to arrange his thoughts in a right way. The essence of abstinence during the Lent is hard to overestimate, it is reduced to our perception of church life. The desire to keep the fast, as dear people do, had led many souls to church. It is hard to live with overbrdened stomach and emptiness in head.

Answered 1 year ago.

My mom always accustomed to fasting, especially before Easter to the big, he said that it is necessary at least the first day to fast. Mom and Dad hold fast all the time, do not eat meat and all that is listed in the article. I have no willpower that would hold the entire post, more than three days post I did not, maybe it's time to come yet, the realization that they need more spiritual pitatsya. History of sprinkle ashes I do not know, that's thanks to a lot article know now. Easter for us a very big celebration, we're all going to family on this day, it is one of the biggest holidays of the year.

Answered 1 year ago.

In many countries, like Nigeria, before Easter is Lent. It is usually followed by all Christians. In Nigeria, the beginning of the Lent is called ash Wednesday. For the Nigerian people is very great svyato. Вefore about 46 days before Easter nigerians celebrate it. This day can not eat much. Eat meat do not. You need to forgive one another, stop doing bad things, to do something good. You need to read the prayer, attending church. In our country, the beginning of Lent is not a great holiday. But many people followed him. It is very good to go to church for confession and communion.

Answered 1 year ago.
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