Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent on the Christian Liturgical calendar. It is 40 days before Easter Sunday (excluding Sundays) and is a time of personal reflection, repentance and fasting in may denominations.
The Lenten season is affiliated with Jesus' 40 days in the dessert before entering public ministry and Moses' 40 days on the mountain.
Roman Catholics have strict regulations that surround the Lenten fast whereas many protestant denominations take various approaches ranging from simply recognizing that lent is a thing through the same traditions followed by the Catholic church.
Personally I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I appreciate the self-denial and focus on repentance that fasting can bring and as a result of my Catholic exposure tend to avoid meat on Fridays and Sundays. However rather than taking the "give something up" approach to Lent I focus more on taking advantage of the chance to do things to draw me closer to God. I have not yet decided how I am going to do that this year but and considering trying to read the entire New Testament during Lent this year.
I will be attending Ash Wednesday services at lunch today at a Lutheran church near my office. It's been a few years since I've attended a Lutheran church however my dad was Lutheran and in Georgia Hubby and were regular attendees at a Lutheran church. I got out my old trust Lutheran Book of Worship Monday night and started flipping through to make sure I have the right words to the creeds etc.
I hope that everyone who reads this who believes in Jesus has a blessed Lenten season and when we sing alleluia Easter morning that you remember the joyous reason being celebrated.