How is Ash Wednesday best explained

Ash Wednesday

A priest paints the ash cross on a forehead in a Catholic service.

Lent in the Catholic Church begins on Ash Wednesday. Fasting means giving up something. The Bible says that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying. Lent is a reminder of this and therefore lasts 40 days.

Because there is no fasting on Sundays and public holidays, the entire period lasts a little longer. Ash Wednesday is not the same date every year. The exact day depends on when it is Easter. Ash Wednesday is exactly on the 46th day before Easter Sunday. Catholics forego meat on Ash Wednesday. From this the custom developed to eat fish on this day.

Ash Wednesday is so called because on this day a cross made of ashes is drawn on the forehead of the believers during worship in the church. It is a reminder that everything will pass and that death is a part of life. In the days before, such as Rose Monday, Carnival is celebrated. The happy and exuberant carnival season ends with Ash Wednesday.

Originally, Lent was only for believers, but now non-believers also fast. It is then about consciously doing without something. What people fast can be very different, but it is something they do not like to do without: some do not watch television, others do not eat sweets or meat.


There is also an article on “Ash Wednesday” for beginners on MiniKlexikon.de and other search results from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

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