The Beginning of Lent
The beginning of Lent is on Ash Wednesday yearly. Ash Wednesday is a day that is preceded by Shrove Tuesday. This year, Ash Wednesday for 2018 is slated for 14th February, a day known worldwide as the Valentine’s Day, where people celebrate and share love. On the 40th day of Lenten, we will have Holy Saturday which is the exact day that Lent would be rounded up. Holy Saturday is followed by Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. For 2018, Lent will end on the 31st of March, Holy Saturday. From the above date for Holy Saturday, we can see that automatically, Good Friday will be 30th March, Easter Sunday will be 1st April and Easter Monday will be 2nd April.
As a matter of fact, the date for the commencement of Lent varies from church to church. For the Orthodox denomination in the Eastern wing, Lent will starts 6 days after Ash Wednesday (19th February), which falls on Monday, otherwise known as ‘Clean Monday’. On the other hand, the Western denominations will start observing their Lent on the 21st February.
It’s difficult to decide for each denomination when to round up their Lent. The Western churches will round up their fast on the 31st of March, precisely on Holy Saturday, whereas the Lent period ends on Holy Thursday, March 29th, for the liturgical churches. Eastern denominations round up their fasting on Good Friday.
Importantly, we should know that the number of Sundays in-between the Lenten 40-day period (excluding Palm Sunday), are not considered as fasting days, because Christians believe that these unique Sabbaths should be regarded as lowkey Easter felicitations, because Christ conquered sin and broke the chains of death.
Now let us note one thing about the number of days for Lenten period. Typically, we have 40 days to fast but mathematically, there are 46 days in all, counting from Ash Wednesday till Holy Saturday (14th February-31st March).
Lent 2018 – Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is another important symbolic day during Lenten and Easter period. Shrove is a name that came from the present tense, “shrive”, which means atonement and self-mortification for sins. It’s the eve of Ash Wednesday.
‘Shrive’ is a verb that means to be submissive to God in humility. Christian practice that shows the attempt to remain ‘shriven’ before the arrival of Lent is known as ‘Shrove’.
Shrove Tuesday is popular with Pancakes because Lenters normally exhaust all their ingredient such as sugar, milk and eggs, even before Lent starts. Other names for Shrove Tuesday are ‘Pancake Day’, ‘Mardi Gras’ or ‘Fat Tuesday’,
Shrove Tuesday for 2018 will come up on 13th February.
Lent 2018 – Ash Wednesday
On Ash Wednesday, Lent observers and Christians generally are expected to purge their souls of all kinds of unrighteousness prior to the commencement of Lenten exercise. As the name implies, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of deep humility before God before and the main fast. In the Holy Bible, ash was used at different times on several occasions and by different people. Ash was poured on the people’s bodies after tearing their clothes in total submission to God’s will.
Likewise in the modern day, the substance is still in use. For those going to church that day, mark of a cross is drawn on their foreheads to represent willingness to fully repent from sin.
The final Sunday leading to Easter is called ‘Palm Sunday’, when palms will be used to carve crosses, then burned to ashes, after which the ash will be used to draw signs on the heads of worshipers. Palm ashes also signifies a pointer that death is inevitable to all mankind.
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