Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

In the Western tradition Ash Wednesday is the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday and the first day of Lent. Lent is the period of forty days before Palm Sunday. In those Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, the forty days of Lent are calculated differently: the fast begins on Clean Monday, Sundays are included in the count, and it ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday.

Ash Wednesday gets it's name "dies cinerum" (day of ashes) from the ancient practice of followers placing ashes on their foreheads as a sign of humility before God. The ashes being a symbol of sorrow, mourning and repentence for sin. Not only does this action prefigure the death and ressurection of Christ but places the worshipper.

Generally the forehead is marked with the sign of the cross while the words "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" or "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you shall return"(Gen 3:19) are said. Traditionally the ashes would come from palm branches that had been gathered and burned after their use during the previous year's Palm Sunday celibration.

Lilian on Faith Journey comments:

Ash Wednesday which is on February 6th, 2008 coincides with Chinese New Year’s Eve. The Catholic churches in Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia have got the o.k. from Vatican for Catholics to celebrate Ash Wednesday’s mass on February 6th but the ashes will only be imposed on the following week. That means, no burning of the palms from last year Palm Sunday and the cross made on the foreheads with the ashes.

That means on Chinese New Year’s Eve, we do not have to go on vegetarian fast as the church has taken into consideration the tradition and culture of the Chinese to celebrate the important reunion dinner with their families.

However…..hehehe, I am now wondering if I have the discipline to start the
vegetarian fast one day after Ash Wednesady (Chinese New Year day) like I have done in the previous years. For the last two years, I have gone on a vegetarian fast from Ash Wednesday till Good Friday which is a total of 40 days. I only omit all meats and seafoods but take eggs and whatever soup or anything that I don’t ’see’ the meat. LOL.

Helpful thots as the Chinese Christians celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with the family reunion dinners on New Year eve today.

more about Ash Wednesday here

photo credit here and here

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home