The Catholic festival ends the carnal pleasures of Carnival and Lent leads to Easter.

The Ash Wednesday is a holiday of Christianity and the Western Church marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of the 40-day fast before Easter, the biggest holiday of the resurrection of Christ. Counting the days until Holy Saturday, there are 46 days, make up less of the six nearly-free Sundays, the 40 days that Jesus spent according to tradition, with prayer and fasting in the desert. Excluded because Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ every Sunday. Ash Wednesday is calculated on the formula of the movable Easter Sunday, what an earliest possible date on 4 February, the latest possible of 10 March results. 2009 Ash Wednesday falls on the 25th February.

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The custom of the ashes

Ash Wednesday is celebrated with a Mass in which the sentence is “Remember, O man, thou art dust and unto dust you will return” a cross of ashes on the forehead or crown of the faithful scattered. Therefore traditionally burned palm branches of last year’s and blessed whose ashes. By the 10th Century, on Ash Wednesday, the sinners example distributed with ash from the church. Then after the first few had shown solidarity with the penitents sat down by the time the general Aschenbestreuung. The requirement to use the ashes of the palm branches of last year, dates from the 12th Century.

Fast

Fasting in the Catholic Church is understood as a penance, which is observed by devout Christians still every Friday by the absence of meat. The Ash Wednesday, Good Friday is like one of the last authentic fasts of the Catholic Church, which prescribes specific rules for these days: you can only eat once a rich and valuable are the edible meat must be avoided completely. As an alternative, therefore, often cooked fish dishes, which allowed the herring to be a popular fast food.