Ash Wednesday: celebrating the first day of Lent

Catholics to begin fasting Wednesday

Catholics to begin fasting Wednesday

Some Catholic parishioners are leaving traditional Ash Wednesday mass in the dust and opting for ashes on-the-go. It actually takes place over 46 days, but Sundays aren't counted.

The President of CBCN, Bishop Augustine Akubeze, said on Tuesday in Abuja in a statement that the Lenten season was a period during which Christians were encouraged to intensify prayers, abstinence, fasting and alms giving for 40 days.

This time of reflection and self-discipline is meant to prepare the faithful for Easter, the most important day in the Christian calendar. Check out our explainer!

Receiving the symbol of the cross on the forehead on Ash Wednesday at Saint Mary's Basilica, Secunderabad, India, 2018.

Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter and it is celebrated by different Christian denominations from around the world.

As the cross is applied to the person's forehead, the priest will say: "Remember that you are guest, and to dust you shall return".

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Yes, simply pull up into the parking lot, "honk for ashes" and a minister will come out to meet and bless you.

Traditionally, clergy burn palm from the previous year's Palm Sunday service to create the ash for the ceremony.

These symbolize Jesus's entry into Jerusalem when his path was covered with palm branches.

Churches like Urban Village Church are bringing ashes to CTA stops and other public locations on Wednesday, letting commuters get an express version of ashes.

Although 19th-century law changes made them less commonplace, matches such as Ashbourne's Royal Shrovetide Football still deliver mud, violence and general mayhem every year.

An Ash Wednesday parade to St Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1935 (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)When does Lent end in 2019?

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