Christians braved the midday rains today and turned out in their hundreds to usher in Lent as they receive ashes in the form of a cross to their foreheads at the Brickdam Cathedral.
Many persons who work and attend schools in the surrounding area of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, joined members of the congregation in worship.
As part of the catholic church’s traditional observance, on Ash Wednesday both young and old turned out to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the period, which begins 40 days prior to Easter.
Ash Wednesday derived its name from the practice of placing ashes (formally called The Imposition of Ashes) on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God.
To mark the day, clergy all over the world burn palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday services to create ash.
This is then rubbed on people’s foreheads in the shape of the cross as they are reminded “For dust you are and to dust you shall return”.
The ceremony is meant to show followers that their lives are short and they must live them to the fullest.
This sees the beginning of Lent, which ends the Thursday before Easter weekend, according to most traditions.
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.
For Lent, fasting does not necessarily mean abstinence from meat; people over the globe give up certain foods or habits to improve their health or demonstrate self-restraint.
The Lent period reflects when Jesus fasted and suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, before he started his ministry.
According to the Bible, he was tempted by Satan during this time, but each time he managed to refuse his temptations.
People follow Jesus’ example and give up vices in a bid to grow closer to God as Easter approaches. Meanwhile, Palm Sunday, according to the Christian faith, is a celebration of the day Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem before he was crucified and then resurrected. It will be observed on April 9 this year and Christians all over the world will be carrying palms and other branches in observance.