Ash Wednesday Fasting is Observed by Millions of Catholics All Over The World

By on Mar 10, 2011 in Holidays, Opinion, World Comments

Ash Wednesday
Image Credit: soulscode.com

Ash Wednesday fasting marks the start of the Holy Week as millions of Catholics observe this religious ritual all over the world. Ash Wednesday fasting rules include not eating meat and eating only small meals twice a day. For some Catholics though, they “fast” not on food but on other things that give them unhealthy pleasure, like cigarettes, alcohol, or even “sacrificing” not to spend extravagantly.

Ash Wednesday’s meaning can differ from one person to another but the major precept in which it is based is still observed-not eating meat. This rule is observed every Friday during the whole 40 days of Lent. For those in the clergy, they usually fast every Friday and observe a day of prayer and penance.  There are even those who fast for the whole 40 days, just like what Jesus Christ did in the desert.

Ash Wednesday is also a day when Catholics received a cross on their foreheads from ashes to remind them that “they are dust and unto dust they shall return.” For the laity, the same rule is applied, no meat every Friday for the Lenten period.

But what is Lent? Lent is a commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the redemption of man. During Maundy Thursday and Black Friday, almost all Catholic business establishments and offices in the entire globe are closed in observance of the day when Jesus was nailed to the cross in Calvary.

In some countries, Ash Wednesday signals the start of  a 40 day-long observance of religious processions, Stations of the Cross and 24-hour church vigils to mourn for the death of Jesus. In the Philippines, a unique, religious performance is observed where the famous crucifixion re-enactment is done attracting local and foreign tourists. A person is nailed to the cross; literally, as a religious pledge or sacrifice, while thousands of people witness his “crucifixion.”

After Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday however, comes with life, joy and hope, just as Jesus Christ has risen from the dead on the third day. The Catholics rejoice for a new given life and a promise of redemption  from the sorrow of Ash Wednesday.

 



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