Today, Christians across the world mark the beginning of the 40-day-long lent season.
Lent is a Christian tradition that is commonly observed in churches such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist and others.
In the Catholic Church, the lent season begins with Ash Wednesday mass, an important day in the liturgical calendar. Here, ashes from palm tree branches and leaves are applied on the forehead of congregants, as a priest speaks the words “Repent and believe in the Gospel”.
The ash is a symbol of penance and repentance and is drawn from the Jewish tradition.
Even though it is not a mandatory requirement to wear the ashes for the whole day, many people do not wash it off until evening.
Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday is a season for penance, reflection, and fasting to prepare Christian for the holy week in the month of April.
Other than fasting, praying, and charity activities, Christians are also asked to refrain from drugs and meat; especially on Wednesdays and Fridays.
After the end of lent, Holly Week begins with the Chrism mass on Thursday, April 6, which will be followed by Good Friday on April 7.
On Good Friday, the main activity is the way of the cross, where Christians commemorate the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus. It ends with a passion service.
This is followed by a vigil mass on Saturday, April 8, mainly occasioned by candle lighting.
April 10 will be Easter Sunday, where Christians mark Christ’s resurrection; through which they attain redemption and the end of the Holly Week. Easter Monday is celebrated the next day.