Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the 46 day period known as Lent. Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, penance and reflection. It is a representation of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted before he began his public ministry.

Ash Wednesday occurs after Shrove Tuesday which is a day of self-examination to consider which areas of spiritual life one must strengthen or eliminate during Lent. In many countries this is celebrated by eating pancakes. The indulgence of fatty foods on this day is where the term Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday comes from.

Ash Wednesday is a movable day that varies every year based on the date of Easter. Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter.

Ashes from the burning of palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday are placed on the forehead as symbol of repentance.

US Navy Ash Wednesday