Miércoles de Ceniza
Definition of Miércoles de Ceniza
Miércoles de Ceniza (Ash Wednesday) is the first day of Lent in the Catholic liturgical calendar. The characteristic rite of this liturgical celebration is the imposition of the ashes obtained from the incineration of the branches blessed on Palm Sunday of the previous year.
This Wednesday is the one that corresponds after Shrove Tuesday and six weeks before Easter Day.
SYNONYMS FOR Miércoles de Ceniza
- Wednesday after Shrove Tuesday
- Ash Day
- Beginning of Lent
ORIGIN OF Miércoles de Ceniza
The origin of this day of liturgical celebration dates back to the 4th century, when it was established that Lent took place between February 4 and March 10. It should be noted that the “Computus” was used for its calculation.
Later, in the VI and VII centuries, fasting was incorporated, which became very important as a Lenten practice. Sunday was not established as it was a holiday and therefore it was moved to the previous Wednesday.
If we talk about ashes, it is a practice that comes from the Hebrew tradition. The Jews covered their heads or sat in ashes as a sign of mourning, of repentance of sins or when they were preparing for an important event.
It was intended to bring them closer to God and to repent of their sins. For Catholics, ash has a symbolic meaning of death and expiration, as well as humility and penance.
CURIOSITIES OF Miércoles de Ceniza
On this day the priest reads to those present the verses: “God formed man from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) and “until you return to the ground, for out of it you were made” (Genesis 3:19).
With these we are all reminded of the beginning and end, of being born and dying. Something that we will all go through, so the teaching is the transience of life and the need to repent of our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.