Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday, Aschermittwoch

***** Location: Europe, worldwide
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Observance


In the Christian calendar,
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent.

It occurs forty days before Easter not counting Sundays (which are not included in Lent); it occurs forty-four days before Good Friday counting Sundays. Its placement varies each year, according to the date of Easter. The date can vary from early February to as late as the second week in March.

Ash Wednesday falls on the following dates in the following years:

* 2004 - February 25
* 2005 - February 9
* 2006 - March 1
* 2007 - February 21
* 2008 - February 6
* 2009 - February 25
* 2010 - February 17
* 2011 - March 9
* 2012 - February 22
* 2013 - February 13
* 2014 - March 5
* 2015 - February 18
* 2016 - February 10
* 2017 - March 1
* 2018 - February 14
* 2019 - March 6

Some Christians treat Ash Wednesday as a day for remembering one's mortality. Masses are traditionally held on this day at which attendees are blessed with ashes by the priest ministering the ceremony. The minister marks the forehead of each celebrant with black ashes, leaving a mark that the worshipper traditionally leaves on his or her forehead until sundown, before washing it off. This symbolism recalls the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one's head signifying repentance before God (as related numerous times in the Bible). Often these Ash Wednesday ashes are made by burning Palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations and mixing them with olive oil as a fixative. In Roman Catholicism Ash wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence. The penitential psalms are read.

Being the first day of Lent,
it comes the day after Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the last day of the Carnival season.

In certain parts of the United Kingdom, Ash Wednesday similarly involves the ritual consumption of the food hash.

In New Orleans, Louisiana it is sometimes jokingly referred to as
"Trash Wednesday" due to the large amount of refuse typically left in the streets by the previous day's Fat Tuesday Celebrations.


Worldwide use


Ash Wednesday (bushfires) refers to major bushfires that occurred on February 16, 1983 across Victoria and South Australia. 75 lives were lost and over 2500 homes destroyed.

Here is an interesting conversation on the topic of this
Ash Wednesday in Australia:
Isabelle Prondzynski asking and Revd Ruth Dudley answering

1. Did the fire actually coincide with Ash Wednesday, so that there is a double appropriateness in the name for that particular day?

The fires occurred on Ash Wednesday - and that is why the term is used - in much the same way as the term 7/11 is used. They were the Ash Wednesday fires.

2. If not, would Australians associate the words "Ash Wednesday" with the fire or with the religious holy day?

I guess it depends on context, but unless you were actually discussing bushfires, I'd say that those Australians who are in any way "churchy" would see the term "Ash Wednesday" as referring to the first day of Lent. This is my immediate take on the term.

However, in South Australia in particular, if you were talking about fires or the heat, or any other related subject & made any sort of reference to Ash Wednesday, the assumption would be that you were talking about *the* Ash Wednesday of the fires. Nevertheless, the term still denotes the religious holy day.

Thanks to both of you.


.. .. .. .. .. .. Aschermittwoch
Seit dem 6. Jahrhundert bildet der Mittwoch vor dem 6. Sonntag vor Ostern („Invocabit”) den Auftakt zur österlichen Fastenzeit. Unter Einbeziehung von Karfreitag und Karsamstag und unter Ausschluß der Sonntage ergeben sich 40 Fastentage vor dem höchsten christlichen Feiertag, dem Gedächtnis an die Auferstehung Christi. Weil die Büßer in der Kirche an diesem Tag nach alter Tradition mit Asche bestreut wurden, erhielt dieser Tag den Namen Aschermittwoch. Seit dem 10. Jahrhundert läßt sich die Austeilung des Aschenkreuzes an diesem Tag nachweisen. Mancherorts hieß der Aschermittwoch auch Pfeffertag, weil Langschläfer mit grünen Ruten aus den Federn „gepfeffert” wurden.

Die Asche des Aschermittwochs wird seit dem 12. Jahrhundert aus den am Palmsonntag übriggebliebenen Palmzweigen des Vorjahres gewonnen.

Auf Vorschlag von Paul Claudel fand nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Paris erstmals ein „Aschermittwoch der Künstler” statt, eine Idee, die Josef Kardinal Frings in Köln 1950 aufgriff. Seitdem treffen in Köln alljährlich Bischof und Künstler zu einer religiösen Standortbestimmung zusammen. Weltweit findet der Aschermittwoch der Künstler in über 100 Städten statt.
(worldwide there is an Ash Wednesday of the Artists)

Read more about local customs in Germany on that day



Ash Wednesday is National No Smoking Day in Ireland!

‘Love is in the Clean Air you breathe!’ aims to prompt people to give up smoking


JUST over one-in-10 people decided to quit smoking because of the ban in the workplace, a national survey shows.
And almost a third of people who stopped smoking on Ash Wednesday last year failed to stay off cigarettes.

According to a survey conducted by the Irish Cancer Society some 25% of smokers would use the occasion to try to give up the habit. The most likely group to attempt to stop were the 25-34 age group, with under-25s the least likely.

Ireland has made huge strides forward during the past year in reducing smoking by banning it in *all* workplaces, i.e. including those of restaurant waiters and bartenders. It caused a huge furore when introduced, but seems to be well appreciated now by most smokers and non smokers alike. Around the border, there is of course the usual cross-border business opportunity -- busloads of smokers travelling to take their pints in Northern Ireland (6 counties out of Ireland's 32, which are part of the United Kingdom), and busloads of non smokers travelling to the Republic of Ireland (the remaining 26 counties) for a smoke-free drink.

ash wednesday --
forty ash free days
to easter

Isabelle Prondzynski



hai no suiyoobi 灰の水曜日 Ash Wednesday. Aschermittwoch

. Japanese Kigo, Christina Festivals .
kigo for early spring

Things found on the way

Ash Wednesday is also the title of a long poem by T. S. Eliot.

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn



Ash Wednesday -
a warbler in the plum
that late neighbor planted

Eiko Yachimoto


by the third forehead smudge
I remember --
it's Ash Wednesday

Paul David Mena, Haiku in Low Places, Ltd.

ash crucifix
the mark of His death
on my forehead

Debi Bender


in the church
the ashes on her forehead

Mark Whittsett

incense drifting upward
he raises a blackened thumb
to my forehead

Alyson Ludek

bacon on her plate
she remembered Ash Wednesday
. . . too late

Lauren Taylor


We wear black crosses,
Dismissed to a holy Lent.
How shall we keep it?

Lionel E. Deimel


dust on dust
where trees will later grow
ash wednesday

Isabelle Prondzynski


Dreams of peace.
The minister's blessing
cross of ash.

Asahi Haikuist Network, March 6, 2009

Träume von Frieden
und der Pontifex segnet
mit dem Aschenkreuz.

Beate Conrad


Ash Wednesday---
a Hindu woman sits
facing a Catholic

Shared by Fred Masarani
Joys of Japan, February 2012


Mardi Gras 2012

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in the world, in/famously known for its "tradition of women baring their breasts in exchange for beads and trinkets."

Mardi Gras
one by one girls flash
their breasts for beads

Chen-ou Liu

The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany (January 6). It is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties. It has traditionally been part of the winter social season; at one time "coming out" parties for young women at débutante balls were timed for this season.

Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French), the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. In the final week of Carnival, many events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


far away from Mardis Gras
the faithful prepare for Lent
the rest plan to play

Lisette Root

Related words

***** Carneval

***** Shrovetide Maslenitsa (Russia)


. Christian Celebrations in Japanese Kigo .




Bill said...

ash wednesday
my colleague
averts his eyes

Bill Kenney


Kenya Saijiki Forum said...

ashen cross --
even the baby
receives one

ashen cross --
the priest imposes his own

Isabelle Prondzynski 2010

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