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Ash Wednesday
(110 words)

[German Version]

is the beginning of the pre-Easter penitential season (Lent). Ash Wednesday owes its name to the institution of public penitence: the penitent receives penitential clothing and is sprinkled with ashes. According to the missal of 1970, blessing and application of the ashes – in the form of a cross on the forehead – are performed following the Gospel and the homily. In Protestant congregations, Ash Wednesday is considered the beginning of the passion season; it is recommended that it be performed in a penitential service or the celebration of congregational confession.

Cite this page
Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich, “Ash Wednesday”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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