Ash Wednesday

Origin of Ash Wednesday

First recorded in 1250–1300
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ash wednesday

Ash Wednesday

noun
  1. the first day of Lent, named from the practice of Christians of placing ashes on their heads as a sign of penitence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

ash wednesday in Culture

Ash Wednesday

The seventh Wednesday before Easter; the first day of Lent for most Christians (see also Christian); the day after “Fat Tuesday,” or Mardi Gras. It is frequently observed as a day of fasting and repentance for sin. In some churches, ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of their mortality. The words of God to Adam in the Bible (see also Bible) are often used in the ceremony: “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.