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With the start of the new year, the Lenten season is almost over. With the upcoming holy seasons, many people confirm if any days within the Lenten season are declared holidays. The government has announced that the upcoming Ash Wednesday in 2024 is not a public holiday. However, it is an important occasion for many Christians and Catholics.
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Why is Ash Wednesday Deemed Important?
Ash Wednesday is a holy day preceded by Shrove Thursday and is practiced in many Western Christian and Catholic religions. This day marks the first day of Lent, or the Lenten season, which lasts for six weeks before being followed by Easter.
The term “Lenten Season” derives its name from “lent,” signifying the lengthening of days during the springtime. Ash Wednesday, a significant day within this season, is widely recognized for its observance of ashes and fasting. As customary, Ash Wednesday involves priests applying ashes on individuals’ foreheads as a cross.
The ashes come from the burnt remains of the blessed palm branches used on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The palm branches are collected and burned down into powdered ashes annually. The ashes are mixed with holy water to create the paste.
Upon receiving the ashes, the priest will state, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The significance of the as is also based on a phrase from the Bible under Genesis 3:19; “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The ashes and the day, in general, represent the mortality of humankind and the need to ask forgiveness.
What Do Filipinos Do Under Ash Wednesday?
As a Catholic nation, most Filipinos follow Ash Wednesday’s practices. Upon the day, Catholic and Christian Filipinos will visit any church, where the priests bless each participant by placing ash in the shape of a cross on their forehead.
In fact, Ash Wednesday is considered to be a time of repentance and contemplation. After receiving the ash cross, many Filipinos also practice fasting, prayers, and abstinence. Some will also practice certain dietary restrictions throughout the Lenten season.
It has been noted that Ash Wednesday is not an official or declared holiday. However, some days, such as Maundy Thursday, are considered a holiday.
When is Ash Wednesday in 2024?
It is known that the date for Ash Wednesday changes annually due to meeting the changing date of Easter. The date of Ash Wednesday in 2024 will fall on February 14, starting a 6-week long season.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding or relating to Ash Wednesday and Lenten Season in general.
How many days in Lent 2024?
The Lent, or the Lenten Season, is specified to be a 40-day long period of prayer and fasting. Additionally, the conclusion of the 40-day season will lead up to Easter Sunday. As with Ash Wednesday, these days are only partially set on a permanent date in a year. Instead, the days are set depending on the set date of Ash Wednesday each year.
What is the theme of Lent 2024?
The Lenten season focuses on three major themes: prayer, fasting, and charity. The prayers during the Lenten season generally focus on asking for God’s forgiveness. Fasting revolves around giving up something that is a regular part of our daily lives. And the act of charity focuses on doing something good for others.
What week is the Lent season?
Lent 2024 is a six-week period that would lead up to Easter upon its conclusion. The first week will usually start on the date of Ash Wednesday in 2024, which is on February 14, and will end either on the date of Maundy Thursday, which is marked on March 28, or Holy Saturday, which is set on March 30 of the same year.
How long is the Lent season?
The Lent season begins with Ash Wednesday, which, as aforementioned before, will begin on February 14. Once it starts, the Lent season will last six weeks/40 days, with Sundays being excluded. This season lasted 40 days due to the synonymous significance of the number of days and nights Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert.
The upcoming Ash Wednesday of 2024 may not be declared an official holiday as many Filipinos will still undergo the day’s practices. They have adjusted their time to attend mass and undergo religious practices to show their dedication to God. This event shows the importance and religious significance the day has brought since the very beginning.
Also Read: Is Chinese New Year a Philippine holiday?