ASH Wednesday and Valentine’s Day will coincide for the first time after 73 years on Wednesday. The last time the two events fell on the same day was in 1945.
Incidentally, Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day also fall on the same day this year.
For Catholics, Ash Wednesday is one of the holiest days when the priests put a marking of the sign of the Cross on the foreheads to remind us that man comes from dust and to dust shall he return.
On Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day Lenten season, Catholics are urged to fast and abstain from eating meat and eat only one full meal.
It is during this period that Catholics are obliged to fast and refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during the Lenten period, and at the same time do penance and charitable work to those less in life.
The church sometimes may allow exceptions when fasting coincides with other celebrations, otherwise there will be no exception.
Catholics are also encouraged to abstain from other worldly things for the atonement of sins of the world.
Ashes on Ash Wednesday are made from the burning of the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. This signifies the Gospels’ reference when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem wherein the path he traversed was covered with palm fronds.
On the other hand, Valentine’s is a day for lovers for a romantic night out or day together for lunch or dinner.
The next time Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day will overlap will be in 2024 and 2029, and the third time before this century ends will be in 2096, which ironically is a leap year – the first time in the history of the church.