"What's that black stuff on people's foreheads?" was a question I heard a lot on Wednesday. If you're still curious, they are ashes, and it was Ash Wednesday for us. Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent, which is a 40-day period where we pray and repent our sins in preparation for Easter, which ends this period. This also marks the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We attend a mass where we have palm branch ashes drawn on our foreheads in the shape of a cross accompanied by the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." This is also a day where we are expected to follow certain rules as far as fasting. People over the age of 14 are to avoid meat, and people ages 18 to 59 fast completely (however, I'm 16 and I decided to fast). These rules are also observed on Good Friday, and we all abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent. The Tuesday before is Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday", which is a day where we pretty much go ham on all of the stuff we're giving up for Lent. Some people give up technology or social media, my mom is praying the rosary every day, and I opted to take a hiatus from junk food and exercise every day, except for the two days I am fasting. These are acts of penance. I did not even really know about Lent until middle school, and did not start observing it until last year. All in all, it's kinda tough to give something up for 40 days, but it serves as a great reflection period, and is a tradition I appreciate and will most likely observe as long as I can.
Cover Image Credit: Allison Pericles