Though Ash Wednesday is celebrated every year among some Christians most of the people of the same faith spend their whole lives without ever understanding the true meaning and the significance of ash Wednesday. But since the release of Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie, The Passion Of Christ, the term has grown more popular among the Catholics. With more and more people catching up the trend, the curiosity about Ash Wednesday has been creating waves in the social media platforms.
Meaning Of Ash Wednesday:
Ash Wednesday is primarily a christian holiday, and is the day the Lent period starts, and it falls forty six days prior to Easter. This service was anciently used by Roman Catholic churches to ensure a better understanding of the death and resurrection of Christ through prayer, remorse, fasting and examination. They believed this to be a spiritual path towards enlightenment. The ashes of the blazed palm of the previous year’s Palm Sunday are used by the priests to mark a cross on the foreheads of the worshipers to dissolve the sins of the worshiper. Apart from repenting for their sins a worshiper even prepares for the end of his life on Ash Wednesday.
Significance Of Ash Wednesday:
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenient period for the Catholics and it is one of the most important dates in the biblical calendar. The Jewish tradition that has stood the test of time signifies preparation and involvement. The practice includes marking of the head, with the ashes which signifies that man shall return to dust of which he made of. Ashes also act as symbols for remorse and grief for one’s own wrongdoing and sins. The ashes also remind the worshipers of their morality, and their inferiority to the supreme power. In also marks the beginning of the phase for the sinners and the people who lost their faith to repent and rejoin the church. The worshipers demonstrate their remorse through fasting during Lent, and the requirements of fasting has to be followed as laid out by the Code Of Canon Law. Every catholic over the age of fourteen has to avoid meat meat on Fridays , Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics during this period eat only one meal per day.
Though it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it mentions that sprinkling ash over oneself is a mark of sin. As in the case of Mordecai or Daniel, the bible continuously points at people repenting for their sins in ashes and dust. The bible asks the worshipers to not display any sign during fasting and keep on their path of helping the needy.
And though Catholics must be ready to repent and fast for God whenever required, Ash Wednesday have it’s own significance.