Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT

In the western Christian church today, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 begins Lent and this is called Ash Wednesday. It is 46 days of fasting in acknowledging Jesus fasting in the desert 40 days before he began his public ministry as per the books written in the New testament of Mathew Mark and Luke.

The Christian faithful go to church today and the priest uses ashes to make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the believer. It is said in tradition that the ashes come from the burning of the palms on Palm Sunday, the previous year.

The level of fasting appears to be a personal preference although there is Canon Law that dictates the fasting process.  Traditional fasting in the church usually includes but is not limited to abstaining from all meats, sweets, physical intimacy, alcohol, entertainment, abusive language, etc.

Prior to Ash Sunday is Fat Tuesday or in other words Mardi Gras after the Epiphany. The term Fat Tuesday symbolizes the end of celebration, and glutton eating with a carnival type atmosphere as the last day before lent.



Easter falls on a different date each year:

Observed on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs after the spring equinox. However, this definition is quite vague, the full moon mentioned is not precisely the same as astronomical full moon, and Orthodox Easter is different from Catholic Easter. The actual date of Easter Sunday is determined by a rather complicated set of rules driven by ancient tables and complex mathematical algorithms, but with an online calculator you can instantly calculate the Easter date for any given year. 

The Greek Orthodox this year falls on April 24th which coincidentally falls on the same day as the western church. During this decade Easter will fall on the same day three times. The next year will be 2014.

As the Easter Celebration is near I will write on the both the Greek and western churches traditions. You will enjoy reading the various traditions. I will be posting parts of the Pasha, Easter liturgy including the byzantine music.

Those of you are Christians, remember all days, not just the period of lent to be good to your fellow man and animals on this planet. That is what Jesus would want you to do. Be the best person you can be and allow the church in you to be shared by all.






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