Ash Wednesday 2014 Meaning, Plus Calendar for Lent

March 5, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday–March 5, 2014–is the first day of Lent, and holds special meaning for people of different sects of Christianity and Catholicism. 

The moveable holiday can be as early as March 4 and as late as March 10 and usually happens 46 days before Easter.

It marks the beginning of a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, or Lent.

During Lent, Sundays are excluded from fasting and abstinence.

Ash Wednesday originated from the ancient practice of dusting oneself with ashes to express sorrow for one’s sins and faults. 

There are numerous examples in the Bible of this happening, including to Job, Daniel, and Jeremiah. 

The period of fasting also alludes to how Jesus went into the desert for 43 days to fast and pray, during which time he was tempted.

The period is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted after making the Golden calf. 

The ashes on Ash Wednesday are made from blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration from the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and scented with incense, and pressed onto people’s foreheads.

Ash Wednesday will move back to February 19 next year, and even further back, to February 18, the year after.

Lent ends this year on April 17.

See a full calendar below.

Clean Monday
March 3

Ash Wednesday
March 5

First Sunday of Lent
March 9

Second Sunday of Lent
March 16

Feast of Saint Patrick
March 17

Feast of Saint Joseph
March 19

Third Sunday of Lent
March 23

The Annunciation of the Lord
March 25

Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 30

Fifth Sunday of Lent
April 6

Palm Sunday
April 13

Holy Thursday
April 17

Good Friday
April 18

Holy Saturday
April 19

Easter
April 20

 

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