Today, millions of Christians around the world are celebrating Ash Wednesday, to mark the start of the Lenten season.
Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance.
Many Jamaicans observe Ash Wednesday by going to church services. In some denominations, ashes blessed by a priest are applied to the foreheads of penitents who kneel at the church altar. The ashes may be marked in the shape of a cross.
For many others, however, Ash Wednesday is just a day off to spend at home with family and friends.
Whether or not you observe it, here are some five fun facts about Ash Wednesday worth knowing.
- Surprisingly, the ashes use on Ash Wednesday is eco-friendly. The ash used is recycled from the last lent. Some churches save the palms used on Palm Sunday to burn them and make the ashes that are applied to people’s foreheads roughly 11 months later.
2. Ash Wednesday occurs exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday which is based on the cycles of the moon.
3. Ash Wednesday does not have a fixed date and as such, the earliest date Ash Wednesday can occur is February 4. It can therefore fall anywhere from February 4 to March 10.
4. The next time Ash Wednesday will be on February 4 is in 2285.
5. Ash Wednesday will fall on February 14 in 2024.