We hope you’re indulging in all the food, drink, and partying you can muster before Ash Wednesday. Many people, religious or not, are currently participating in Mardi Gras celebrations all around the world. These celebrations reach their peak on Fat Tuesday, February 13th. Then, on February 14th, Catholics recognize Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a 40-day period of fasting, penance, and reflection (aka Lent).
Ash Wednesday is an ancient Catholic holiday celebrated in preparation for Easter, when Catholics recognize Christ’s Resurrection. The ash cross applied to the forehead on Ash Wednesday represent the dust from which God created humans as well as a symbol of mourning for the sins committed in front of God.
On Ash Wednesday, most Catholics and some Christians fast for the entire day. They then continue to abstain from certain foods, like meat and dairy, throughout the entire Lent period.
With Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day this year, practicing Catholics may want to reschedule their romantic dinner dates. Both the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Galveston, Texas, reminded parishioners that Ash Wednesday takes priority over Valentine’s Day.
Sorry guys. You’ll have to nix the steak dinner.
The archdiocese suggested Catholics celebrate Valentine’s Day on Fat Tuesday in order to make the most of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
The last time Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day overlapped was in 1956. The overlap has only happened eight times since the Civil War.
Think hard about what you’ll give up for Lent this year, if you decide to participate. Choosing something you know you can stick with will make you feel like you’ve achieved a lot come Good Friday. But before the 14th, don’t be afraid to indulge a little!