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What is Ash Wednesday and why do we celebrate it and What do you mean by 40 Days of Lent or, Fasting during lent?

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day (Just after a day of Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or, Mardi Gras 2017 this year), or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. It occurs 46 days before Easter and can fall as early as February 4.


Ash Wednesday is an essential section of the Lenten period in many Christian religions including Catholic, Orthodox plus some Protestant beliefs. Lent is a religious time frame of 40 times before Easter Sunday emphasizing prayer, penance, in addition to a revival of faith. For the leap year of 2020, just how many occasions between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday full 45.

Ash Wednesday Readings 2017, Fasting during lent, 40 Days of lent

Do we have to fast on Ash Wednesday?


According to AmericanCatholic.org, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 must fast on Ash Wednesday. Fasting entails eating one regular-sized meal and two small meals daily. All Catholics 14 years old and up should abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent.

Once the year is just a low-leap year, how many days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday total 44. There is a variation of around 6 days between your 40 days of the Lenten season along with the real count of 44 times (45 in a leap year). The difference is based on the history of the summer months of Lent.

What do you eat on Ash Wednesday?

First, you can not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, which marks 40 days before Easter and the beginning of Lent. According to the Catholic law of abstinence, Catholics aged 14 and older must refrain from meat on Fridays altogether during this 40-day period, as well as Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday Readings 2017

Before you go to readings below, you must check: Ash Wednesday Quotes Bible, Service, Ideas, Songs, Readings, Reflection
Reading 1
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.
Reading 2
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Reading 3
Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.

And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.

Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly,

Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber.
Hope you liked our content as well as Ash Wednesday readings for this year but, Have you checked yet about Ash Wednesday Liturgy & No Meat rule? If not, then Check here: Ash Wednesday 2017 Liturgy, Jokes, Food, No meat rule, Costume, Christianity
Gospel, Mark 9:14-29
  • 14 As they were rejoining the disciples they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them.
  • 15 At once, when they saw him, the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him.
  • 16 And he asked them, 'What are you arguing about with them?'
  • 17 A man answered him from the crowd, 'Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him,
  • 18 and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to drive it out and they were unable to.'
  • 19 In reply he said to them, 'Faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.'
  • 20 They brought the boy to him, and at once the spirit of dumbness threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth.
  • 21 Jesus asked the father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' 'From childhood,' he said,
  • 22 'and it has often thrown him into fire and into water, in order to destroy him.
  • 23 But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.'
  • 24 'If you can?' retorted Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who has faith.' At once the father of the boy cried out, 'I have faith. Help my lack of faith!'
  • 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit. 'Deaf and dumb spirit,' he said, 'I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.'
  • 26 Then it threw the boy into violent convulsions and came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, 'He is dead.'
  • 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand.
  • 28 When he had gone indoors, his disciples asked him when they were by themselves, 'Why were we unable to drive it out?'
  • 29 He answered, 'This is the kind that can be driven out only by prayer.'

Lent this year starts on March 1, which also marks Ash Wednesday for 2017. The annual tradition ends on Holy Thursday, April 13.

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