Today, Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Christians in Nigeria join their counterparts around the world to begin the 2023 Lenten(Lent) season. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for millions of Christians worldwide.
It is observed about six weeks before Easter Sunday, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This is a significant religious observance for Christians worldwide as it serves for spiritual introspection and connecting with God through communal prayer and fasting.
The 40-day spiritual exercise begins with Ash Wednesday, where foreheads of Catholics are marked with ashes to remind them of their mortality and the somber mood that is expected of them in the next six weeks, in readiness for Easter Sunday on April 9, 2023.
The Origin of Ashes
The ashes used are obtained from the burnt palms that were used a few days before Palm Sunday. During the Ash Wednesday service, the ashes are applied to the worshipers’ foreheads in the shape of the cross that symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus.
Which Christian denominations observe Ash Wednesday?
Different Christian denominations observe Ash Wednesday at varying dates leading up to Easter Sunday, each with its unique traditions. Within the Western Christian world, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, and The start of Lent is marked by one of the most significant services during Roman Catholic mass.
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In contrast to Western Christian denominations, the Eastern Orthodox Church begins its Lenten season on a Monday, referred to as “Clean Monday,” instead of Wednesday.
Lenten Season Fasting rules
Fasting rules vary among different Christian denominations. Catholics, for instance, avoid eating meat during their fast on this holy day. The church permits young and elderly Catholics to have one full meal and two smaller meals.
Although the fasting rules are usually observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, some Catholics practice them throughout the entire Lenten period.
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