Ash Wednesday 2018 falls on 14 February and coincided with Valentine’s Day. Many people wondered how these two important holidays can be combined. Learn about the decision of the church from the article below.
What is Ash Wednesday?
Several facts you should know about this holiday:
- Great Lent does not have a definite start and end date. It is directly related to the onset of Easter.
- The name "Ash Wednesday" originated from an ancient rite when a head was sprinkled with ashes as a symbol of the remission of sins. This custom is known as a token of repentance in many ancient cultures and traditions: in Ancient Egypt, among the Arabs, and in Greece.
- In the Old Testament, the sprinkling of the head with ashes was a symbol of sorrow, repentance, and humility before God.
- In the entire Catholic Church, this custom was introduced by Pope Urban II in 1091. At the same time, it was established that the ashes used for sprinkling on the heads of believers should be made from the palm branches consecrated on Palm Sunday of last year.
- The constant tradition of starting Great Lent at Ash Wednesday was established in the Catholic Church in 1570. Since that year a ritual is performed in the Catholic cathedrals.
- Its course depends on local traditions: the priest puts ash sign on the forehead of the believer or sprinkles it on his head.
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Decision of the church
The coincidence with Valentine’s Day occurred for the first time since 1945. Ash Wednesday was considered a more important holiday and St. Valentine's Day was moved on February 13. This became known from the statement of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, the USA. Its head Robert J Baker addressed a letter to the members of the church.
Ash Wednesday 2018 - a holy day of obligation is indeed of great importance to the religious world. Displacement of the last would cause much more problems than the appointment of Valentine's Day on February 13. The traditional laws of abstinence will be saved. All these measures had to be taken out of respect for the holiday.
We hope that the above-mentioned news is useful. If you'll celebrate Valentine's Day on the eve of Ash Wednesday or on any other day, the Lord will certainly appreciate this act of devotion.
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