History of Ash Wednesday: Where does the Ash come from?

Ash Wednesday

HISTORY OF ASH WEDNESDAY In the Western church, the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday from the ceremonial use of ashes, as a symbol of repentance, in the service prescribed for the day. It follows Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and ends with Easter 40 days later, not counting Sundays. Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Anglican denominations, Roman Catholics, and some Baptists practice it. The Eastern Church practices the Great Lent during the 40 days preceding Palm Sunday, with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. The ash represents repentance and a reminder of death.…

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History of Mardi Gras: Why is it called Fat Tuesday?

Mardi Gras

HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” It is celebrated the day after Shrove Monday and the day before Ash Wednesday as a last “fling” before the 40 days of self-denial of Lent, which precede Easter. Lent is a word that comes from the Middle English word “lente,” which means “springtime” — so named for the season of the year in which it usually occurs. While the practice of Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, it has been a tradition in the Christian world since the mid-4th century. It seems to parallel the 40 days of fasting…

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History of Shrove Monday: Ahead of Mardi Gras

Shrove Monday

HISTORY OF SHROVE MONDAY The Monday before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Monday. The three days before Ash Wednesday are known as “Shrovetide,” starting with Quinquagesima Sunday and ending on Shrove Tuesday, a day more popularly known as Mardi Gras. Quinquagesima meant the fiftieth day before Easter, specifically the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, marking Lent‘s beginning. Shrove is the past tense of shrive and is an Old English word meaning “to repent.” Repentance from sin was a common practice during this season. The Royal Shrovetide Football Match is typically played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in Ashbourne,…

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History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

ASH WEDNESDAY In the western church the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday from the ceremonial use of ashes, as a symbol of penitence, in the service prescribed for the day. The custom is still retained in the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran Churches. The ashes, obtained by burning the remains of the palm branches blessed on the previous Palm Sunday, are placed in a vessel on the altar and consecrated before High Mass. The priest then invites those present to approach and, dipping his thumb in the ashes, marks them as…

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History of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

.!. MARDI GRAS In French, Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday as a last "fling" prior to the 40 days of Lent which precede Easter. Lent is a word that comes from the Middle English word "lente" which means "springtime" – so named for the season of the year in which it usually occurs. While the practice of Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, it has been a tradition in the Christian world since the mid 4th century. It seems to parallel the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness that Jesus…

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