Catholics Celebrate Ash Wednesday 2019

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Ale Martinez, Staff Reporter

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent for Catholics all over the world. It is one of the most popular and holy days of the liturgical calendar.  

Ash Wednesday begins a season of prayer, fast and commitment for many people. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter and involves a Catholic tradition to avoid all meat, except fish and continuing for all Fridays during Lent.  According to, “Catholics aged 14 and older must refrain from meat on Fridays altogether during this 40-day period, as well as Ash Wednesday.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance and are a sacramental blessed by the church. Ashes are made from blessed palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. They are crushed and burned.  Ash Wednesday is an ancient Jewish tradition of ashes placed on the forehead in the form of a cross, representing how God made people from dust. At the time of receiving ashes, the priest says,“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Celebrating Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season varies in degrees for many people.  Some individuals spend time in prayer and fasting. Many people take off from work to receive ashes and spend the day in prayer.  Many find things to do as penance during the weeks to remind them of the sacrifice Jesus gave.  Popular items that some people “give up” are fast food, candy, junk food, and any other item they might feel dependent upon.  Others might do extra things like donating items to the homeless, eating less at meals, swearing less, and so on.