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Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day fall on the same date, February 14

Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent, falls on Valentine's Day this year, posing a dilemma for Christians observing both holidays.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent. This year, it falls on February 14, the traditional date for Valentine's Day. For Christians, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting, abstaining from certain foods, and attending mass. It's a day when many people go to church to receive ashes on their foreheads, reminding them of their mortality and the start of the Lenten season.

During Lent, Christians engage in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as they prepare for the celebration of Easter. The word "lent" comes from an old Germanic word, "lenz," meaning spring, symbolizing new life and the transition from winter to spring. The date of Easter fluctuates based on the moon, always falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This year, Easter will be on March 31, and next year, it will be on April 20.

It's not uncommon for Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day to coincide, as they did in 2018 and will again in 2029. Church officials remind people that even on Valentine's Day, those observing Ash Wednesday should still adhere to the rules of fasting and abstaining from meat. Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton has emphasized the importance of maintaining the significance of Ash Wednesday, even in the midst of Valentine's Day celebrations.

So, whether you're planning a romantic dinner or a night out, remember to honor the traditions of Ash Wednesday. And if you're looking for a way to celebrate love, consider celebrating Valentine's Day on Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, to allow Ash Wednesday to retain its appropriate significance.

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