A Season of Love and Preparation

By Olivia Parker

Lent is a forty day religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. The tradition of Lent dates back all the way to the 4th century: people were only allowed to eat one meal a day, and there was a strict diet of no meat or fish.  As Catholics today, we are only called to abstain from meat on Fridays and to make one sacrifice throughout Lent. However, the meaning of Lent still stands the same as we take time to prepare for Jesus.

Ash Wednesday, which takes place on February 14 this year, marks the start of this solemn season of sacrifice. On this day, ashes put on our foreheads in the shape of a cross are made from the palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday mass. These ashes are symbolic of our past sins, and remind us of the period of reflection and repenting ahead.  The priest marks these blessed ashes on your forehead saying “remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day, something that hasn’t happened since 1945. Many see this as a happy coincidence to celebrate their love for others and Jesus. Sadly, you just might have to find a different way to celebrate this Valentine’ Day other than delicious food.

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