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Christians to observe Ash Wednesday

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

Thousands of Christians in the kingdom will next Wednesday gather in their different places of worship to mark Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday (February 22nd) is the official beginning of Lent. On this day of penitence, ashes are placed on people’s foreheads to represent their mortality.

They are placed in the sign of the cross as a reminder that “as Christians, we die in Christ and are saved by His amazing grace.” Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting.

It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolise the dust from which God made us.

As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return”.

Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”.

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